Nature Photography: 8 Videos About Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge That'll Make You Cry

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, situated in southwestern Oklahoma in close proximity to Lawton, has safeguarded distinctive wildlife habitats considering the fact that 1901 and it is the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Company method.[1] The refuge's locale while in the geologically exclusive Wichita Mountains and its parts of undisturbed mixed grass prairie make it a vital conservation spot. The Wichita Mountains are roughly five hundred million several years outdated.[2][3] Measuring about 59,020 acres (238.eight km2), the refuge hosts a terrific variety of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and sixty four reptiles and amphibians are existing.

Record - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Forest Reserve was set up by the General Land Office in Oklahoma on July 4, 1901, with fifty seven,120 acres (231.two km2). After the transfer of federal forests on the U.S. Forest Company in 1905, it turned a National Forest on March four, 1907, as Wichita National Forest.


On June 4, 1936, the Wichita Forest designation was abolished and transferred for the Bureau of Organic Survey, a precursor into the Fish and Wildlife Provider. It absolutely was re-designated the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR).[4][5]

United States Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

July four, 1901 William McKinley ~ Proclamation 459 - Establishment of your Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[6]

January 24, 1905 58th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Forest and Video game Reserve Act of 1905[seven]

June 2, 1905 Theodore Roosevelt ~ Proclamation 563 - Redesignating the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[eight]

March 4, 1907 59th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Nationwide Forest Act of 1907[9]

June 4, 1936 74th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Act of 1936[ten]

November 27, 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt ~ Proclamation 2211 - Wichita Nationwide Forest, Oklahoma[11]

Oct 23, 1970 91st U.S. Congress ~ Wilderness Act of 1970[12][thirteen]

Description - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The WMWR is managed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Assistance. You'll find 13 little lakes throughout the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie Pet dog

Based on the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Company, 240 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, sixty four species of reptiles and amphibians, and 36 species of fish happen to be documented.[15]

Bison with vegetation around French Lake

Quite a few species of huge indigenous mammals make their household within the refuge: plains bison, often called the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies in addition to Texas longhorn cattle preserved for his or her cultural and historic worth.[16] Bison, longhorns, and elk ended up introduced after the institution in the refuge. Merriam's elk, the first subspecies of elk In this particular location, is extinct, Therefore the elk while in the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors from the herd ended up imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the largest in Oklahoma at about one,000[18] and the white tailed deer number about 450. These ungulates are not deemed endangered.[19] Numerous smaller sized mammal species also reside in the refuge, including the 9-banded armadillo, bassarisk, and the black-tailed prairie Canine. Other species which were reintroduced involve: the river otter, burrowing owls and also the prairie dog. While these species were not shown as "endangered," USFWS plan is always to guarantee that species that once were native to those mountains would generally be located there.[19] In accordance with the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Society, the refuge failed in its try and reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and also the prairie hen.[20]


The conservation of bison has grown to be an ongoing, various effort. as well as the refuge was vital in preserving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Modern society transported fifteen bison, 6 bulls and nine cows, within the Bronx Zoo. On arrival, the Comanche chief Quanah Parker and a host of other Indians and whites turned out to welcome the bison. At that time, bison were extinct on the southern Fantastic Plains for 30 a long time. The bison herd now numbers about 650 to the refuge.[21] In tumble, bison in excess of your carrying ability with the refuge ended up auctioned off but this observe was led to 2020 in the event the refuge joined inside the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative from the Department of the inside has five central ambitions: wild, balanced bison herds; genetic conservation; shared stewardship; ecological restoration; and cultural restoration. It strengthened mechanisms for delivery of bison to Indigenous American tribes from federal herds.[23] In 1973, the refuge aided bison conservation by donating a few bison into the Fort Well worth Nature Centre and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is property to many species of birds, and it is among the remaining properties from the not long ago delisted black-capped vireo.

Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically assorted, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The numerous uncovered granite boulders make Extraordinary habitat for a very photogenic, chartreuse environmentally friendly lichen referred to as "Pleopsidium flavum."[25] Parts of the refuge contain scrubby forest of mixed oak versions. A disjunct inhabitants of bigtooth maple is uncovered below, four hundred miles (640 km) from the nearest pure populace in West Texas.[26]


Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Bison calf, WMWR

There is no admission charge. Community use parts around the refuge whole 22,four hundred acres (9,100 ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife location (fifteen,000 ha) is protected wildlife habitat only.[27] A customer Centre and bookstore displays art and has reveals illustrating the four key habitats identified to the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Combined-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]

The refuge is a well-liked spot for leisure routines. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly well-known, but visitors also love climbing, tenting, fishing, hen and wildlife looking at, and images. The refuge has an intensive path method, which includes about 15 miles of official trails. The area turned well-liked for rock climbing starting during the nineteen sixties and 1970s, and has grown to be a little something of a regional mecca. Though climbing has introduced many readers towards the refuge, some controversy exists in excess of the usage of fixed anchors, bolts along with other forever positioned objects over the rock encounter. The refuge has joined While using the Entry Fund and also the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to advertise responsible use in the Wichitas' resources.[29] Rock climbing routes are found on Mt. Scott, the refuge's second greatest summit, and also areas including the Narrows and the Charon Gardens Wilderness Region.[thirty]

Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is well-liked inside the 13 artificial lakes about the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][forty two][forty three] Elk and deer searching, to cull excessive figures, is permitted inside a managed hunt every fall. Hunters are preferred by lottery along with a price is charged. A narrow winding highway causes the summit of Mount Scott, elevation two,464 feet (751m), that has a check out that encompasses The complete refuge. Even though the mountains increase only 800 to a thousand ft previously mentioned the encompassing prairie, They may be steep and rocky. The highest mountain while in the refuge is Mount Pinchot which rises to two,479 toes (756m).[forty four][forty five] Mount Pinchot was named in honor of Gifford Pinchot who served as the initial Main of The usa Forest Assistance.