OKLAHOMA CITY — Legislation to honor a national park that remains a big part of Oklahoma history passed out of committee this week. State Rep. Wes Hilliard amended House Bill 3019 to designate a portion of State Highway 7 running from the Chickasaw Trail east of Davis to

Highway 177 in Sulphur as the "Historic Platt National Parkway".

The bill passed out of the House Transportation Committee on Thursday and now awaits a vote from the entire Oklahoma House of Representatives.

Platt National Park was established in 1906. In 1976, when the Lake of the Arbuckles was added, the park was renamed the Chickasaw National Recreation Area (CNRA).

"There couldn't be a better time to honor the historic park's name than the year the Chickasaw National Recreation Area celebrates its centennial birthday," said Hilliard, D Sulphur. "This park serves a place where Oklahomans can step back into history and see the natural beauties that have been here since statehood."

Currently, there are 388 national parks and Oklahoma is home to the seventh-oldest. The Chickasaw National Recreation Area, which includes 10,000 acres of wildlife beauty, is the state's only national park.

Hilliard said the renaming of the park to Chickasaw National Recreation Area was also a way to honor Oklahoma's Native American heritage.

"It was a way to honor the Chickasaw people by protecting what they considered to be their 'peaceful valley of rippling water.' The springs and streams of this area provided them with food and the water was considered to have medicinal purposes," said Hilliard.

Connie Rudd, the Chickasaw National Recreation Area superintendent, said she applauds Hilliard for this legislation and thinks it will be a great tribute to the Chickasaw Nation while preserving the Platt National Park name.

"This is a good way to keep Platt National Park as well as the Chickasaw people connected with a remarkable part of Oklahoma history," said Rudd.

"Renaming this roadway will remind Oklahomans who visited Platt National Park as children of the good times they had and encourage them to bring their own children to make new memories," said Hilliard. "I am happy to know we were able to conserve a piece of our state history."

Both Hilliard and Rudd invite all Oklahomans to come and celebrate the park's 100th birthday June 17 for an all day event packed with fun-filled activities.