To coincide with the ribeye steak now being the official steak of Oklahoma, Lake McMurtry Friends hosted Steak at the Lake as a fundraiser for the lake and park.

There are several desired improvements for the park, including facility upgrades and expansion of existing programs, as well as new facilities and programs for the community to take part in. Lake McMurtry Friends Executive Director Jill VanEgmond said there are many fundraising efforts that will help the group accomplish the goals it has set.

“We’re starting to build some new programs that we’re going to have year round,” VanEgmond said. “We’ll have all sorts of programs, mental health rights, we have our youth adventure camp that we’re trying to grow and expand for longer throughout the summer. Park renovations … getting our bathrooms updated and all the facilities in shape. Everything we raise gets us one step closer to accomplishing all of those.”

The event was also to help raise awareness about the Lake McMurtry Friends group being a nonprofit. VanEgmond said there are a lot of people who don’t know about the hard work the group does to benefit the Stillwater community. With a lot of upgrades the group hopes to make, VanEgmond said there will be many more events that will focus on raising money to improve the entirety of Lake McMurtry.

“This will become a yearly fundraiser, so we hope to grow,” VanEgmond said. “We had 100 people here tonight, but next year, we’re hoping for 250, and to grow it each year we’ll just get a bigger tent and have more people. We have Santa in the Park coming up in December, and that’s a great family friendly event that takes place.”

Many of the improvements and upgrades are either immediate goals or goals for down the road. VanEgmond said the group relies entirely on the good will of others to help maintain the lake area and keep it at its best.

“We are in a public/private partnership with the City of Stillwater,” she said. “But we do operate and maintain the lake and we do depend on the generosity of others to help grow our programs, and to help make sure people have the best experience possible when they come out. Some of these things we’re working on immediately and some things are in our master plan. We have a nature center, adaptive trails, an outdoor classroom and all kinds of trail tools and equipment we need to keep the trails up and running.”

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