After the Wildfires: Possum Kingdom Tourism

Memorial Day is fast approaching, and there is concern tourism could be down at Possum Kingdom.  It's only been a few weeks since fires severely destroyed more than 100 homes and thousands of acres in the Possum Kingdom Complex.

PK Chamber of Commerce Director Gayla Chambers says none of their businesses or hotels were burned, but some business owners say people aren't heading down to the lake because they think the PK fire destroyed everything.

Many business owners in Possum Kingdom are struggling to get their sales back to normal. Naylor by the Water PK Business Owner Jay Naylor says, "Nobody is really coming out after the fires are gone."  Naylor says they've dropped 40 percent to 50 percent in sales since the fire.  He is trying to spike up sales in various ways.  Naylor says, "We're doing specials. We're offering discounts. We're running different media sources to get the word out that the lake is still ok."

But these business owners want Texoma to know that despite some charred land, there's still plenty of fun to be had at Possum Kingdom.  Rock Creek Camp PK Business Owner Cheri Dipprey says, "Mostly the trees and things were affected, we were not affected. We were not affected here in the camp grounds, and most of the camp grounds were not affected at all. The air quality is fine the winds have been so high that the smoke is all gone. There's no ash on the ground. There's no effect on fishing or the boating or bringing your jet skis out."

Cheri Dipprey owns Rock Creek Camp.  She says despite some cancellations shortly after the fire evacuations, things are getting back to normal.  Business owners say there are still some burnt trees, but the vegetation is already growing back, and PK is starting to see more visitors shopping and swimming.  PK Visitor and Native Jennifer Johnson says, "I'm shopping, playing in the waters, meeting up with friends. Everything that we did before the fires came through."

Chamber of Commerce Gayla Chambers says Possum Kingdom Lake has about two million visitors per year, 75 percent of which come during these upcoming summer months.  Officials say people should not be concerned about air quality in the area, they say it is all normal.

Jessica Abuchaibe, Newschannel 6.