Grand Lake, One of Many Created by the Neosho River
Nestled at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains is Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. Simply called Grand Lake, it is known for its multi-arch Pensacola Dam that was constructed between 1938 and finished in 1940. The Pensacola Dam was built on the Grand River, which is the lower Neosho River and thus, Grand Lake was created.
The eastern Kansas part of the Arkansas River benefits from the Neosho River contribution, as does the northeastern Oklahoma part. The tributaries of the Neosho River are approximately 463 miles long.
The Neosho River is a vital part of the environmental and recreational parts of Grand Lake in Oklahoma with its headwaters located in Morris County, Kansas. It is at Muskogee City where it meets with the Arkansas River and then a mile further, those two rivers meet with the Verdigris River, an area called “Three Forks”.
The Neosho ends in Oklahoma where it converges with Spring River. Twin Bridges State Park lays there and attracts visitors year round for many of the outdoor activities offered. The Neosho is dammed at many different points and those dams are governed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In addition to the Pensacola Dam at Grand Lake, there is upstream dam of Council Grove where Council Grove Lake forms and then close to New Strawn is a dam. There the John Redmond Reservoir has been formed. There is a dam, Langley, in Oklahoma and that is where the largest reservoir of the Neosho is found, as is the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. There is also a dam at Locust Grove which forms Lake Hudson and further upstream is a dam at Fort Gibson which forms Fort Gibson Lake.