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Virtual Cache

Big Sticks

A cache by beatnik
Hidden : 6/28/2002
In Oklahoma, United States
Difficulty:
1 out of 5
Terrain:
1 out of 5

Size: Size: virtual (virtual)

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Geocache Description:

This is a nice quick virtual cache with one fantastic view. A must stop if you are taking a scenic drive in the Ouachita Mountains. Great stop for a motorcycle tour as well.

At the bottom of the twisting roads that lead to this cache from the north you will find another monument. It was dedicated to President John F. Kennedy for his dedication of Ouachita National Forest Road on 29 October, 1961 in Big Cedar, Oklahoma. The actual placement of this odd virtual cache item seems to be forgotten. As one web search I performed on the cache points out. Nobody remembers the event more than vaguely. Why was this particular site chosen? Why was it forgotten so quickly? Even the Oklahoma Historical Society has little or nothing on this event.

Regardless you will find it an interesting location with one grand view. E-mail what the 3 items the monument stands for or post a photo of your visit. They are listed on a badly vandalized sign. Do not list the information in your public log.

Updated Information from unixnerd

I would truly like for you to know why Three Sticks Monument stands alone on Kiamichi Mountain. Why no one remembers its purpose is beyond me.

To understand Three Sticks Monument is to understand southeastern Oklahoma. During the early 1900’s, “cut and get out” lumber companies basically clear cut the Ouachita Mountains in two sweeps. One sweep cut out all the pine trees, and the second sweep, after Prohibition was repealed, cut out all the oak trees. What was left was barren mountains, soil exposed to erosion, and any trees or shrubs left were damaged. It wasn’t until the Dierks Brothers and the Federal National Forest program came to Oklahoma that the forests were replanted. People were poor working for the “cut and get out” lumber companies, but they were even poorer when the companies left.

Robert S. Kerr was Oklahoma’s first native born Governor and later a powerful Senator. Kerr was also an environmentalist and oilman. Kerr loved southeastern Oklahoma and saw the potential of the area for tourism. However, Kerr also knew the lack of north-south roads in the area would prohibit any true development. By 1955, the only north-south road in the Oklahoma Ouachitas was the “Indian Service Road” (or Indian Highway) from Talihina to Bethel. This road was not part of the Oklahoma State Highway system. All other roads and highways entered the Ouachitas at some break along the front range and soon came to parallel the bending mountain ranges as they wrapped from east to southwest. One had to get to the core area of the Ouachitas in Arkansas before any north-south roads could be found. Thus US 59 ran south of Heavener to Stapp and then turned east (as a gravel road) to Mena, Arkansas. From Mena, US 59 and 71 both ran south within the core area of the Ouachitas. Within the Broken Bow Uplift area of the Oklahoma Ouachitas, an earth graded/gravel state highway (OK 21) connected Broken Bow, Bethel, Smithville, and Cove, Arkansas along the valley of the Mountain Fork River.

By 1953-55, work started on a gravel road south of Stapp towards Big Cedar. This road took advantage of a stream valley (tributary of Shawnee Creek) that broke the Shawnee Ridges and provided access to the south. Though there were other break points along the ridges, these points were occupied by old logging tramways (such as the Pine Valley Tramway). By 1956, this gravel highway, State Highway 103, had been completed across the pass of Spring Mountain located between Winding Stair Mountain and Rich Mountain. The latter two are formidable unbroken ridges. In fact, OK 103 had been completed over the Spring Mountain pass, across the Pine Valley Tram at Pipe Spring, through Big Cedar, and out into the synclinal valley south of Big Cedar. Work continued off and on for three more years before the twisting road crossed Kiamichi Mountain via a harrowing switchback through rough Jackfork Formation turbidites. By 1959, Octavia gained its first true access to the north via OK 103. In addition to constructing a road south to Octavia, most all of OK 103 was blacktopped from US 59 to the south slope of Kiamichi Mountain. In fact, once Kiamichi Mountain was crossed, it was easier to follow Big Eagle Creek down slope to Smithville.

Thus the first north-south road had been constructed connecting LeFlore and McCurtain Counties. All along the process, Senator Robert S. Kerr had monitored and encouraged the construction. R. G. Miller, a journalist for The Daily Oklahoman, wrote many articles about the beauty of the Ouachitas and the recreational opportunities they provided. So once this vital north-south link was complete, a group of local citizens decided to commemorate Senator Kerr’s and R. G. Miller’s efforts. Thus on top of the most difficult ridge to conquer, Kiamichi Mountain, a monument was constructed and dedicated by these local citizens. The monument immortalized the words and life theme of Senator Kerr – “********, *******, *** *****” – and used three batons or sticks to symbolize these themes. A plaque dedicates this monument to Senator Kerr and R. G. Miller, and also mentions other politicians who were “accessories” to Senator Kerr’s efforts – Senator Mike Monroney, Rep. Carl Albert, and Governor Raymond Gary. What is conspicuously left off the plaque was the commemoration date!

Was the monument and plaque dedicated in 1958-59 when OK 103 topped Kiamichi Mountain? Was it dedicated in 1960 when Smithville was connected to points north? Since this was an effort of private citizens, there was little fanfare in the building and dedication of this monument. In fact, the monument has been known by several names besides “Three Sticks Monument”. It has been called “Mount Kiamichi Monument” and “Recognition Monument and Park”. So, its history is lost to time and clouded by the presence of a Presidential commemoration.

Senator Kerr’s influence did not stop there. His new home southwest of Poteau had been completed in 1960. By 1961, the Texas highway system had been linked to OK 87 south of Idabel and the rest of OK 21 and 103 had been paved. Senator Kerr was never shy about using his influence to get what he wanted for the good of Oklahoma. By this influence, he was able to arrange for President John F. Kennedy to visit Big Cedar, OK to dedicate US Highway 259 that combined TX 27, OK 87, OK 21, and OK 103 into a north-south cutoff of the eastern bow of US 59. Days before President Kennedy was scheduled to arrive in Big Cedar, Governor Edmondson frantically called President Kennedy to find the real reason for his eastern Oklahoma visit. Kennedy told Edmondson, “Why Howard, I’m going to Oklahoma to kiss Bob Kerr’s ass!” So, on October 29, 1961, the skies above Big Cedar were stirred by dual-rotor helicopters and visitors swelled the village of a few people to a population of over 20,000. And there at Big Cedar, Kennedy dedicated “a mountain road that starts nowhere in particular and goes to a suburb of the same place”. In all the commotion, Kennedy was so entrenched in his speech that he almost forgot to cut the ribbon to open the new US highway. Rep. Carl Albert noticed a Secret Service man holding a pair of scissors and pointed this out to Senator Kerr. Senator Kerr took the scissors, and in his “simple country boy” fashion announced to President Kennedy, “Mr. President, we have come here to dedicate a highway.” At that point he handed the scissors to Kennedy who clipped the ribbon and officially opened US 259. After the ceremony, Kennedy spent the night at Kerr’s home southwest of Poteau. Notice, Kennedy never set foot south of Big Cedar; he never visited Kiamichi Mountain or Three Sticks Monument which, by the way, looked down into the northern valley at all the commotion that October day.

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Fgvpx Rz Hc!

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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Inventory

There are no Trackables in this cache.

 

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 9/3/2014 5:52:34 AM Pacific Daylight Time (12:52 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum