Nature Photography: Don't Buy Into These "Trends" About Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, situated in southwestern Oklahoma in close proximity to Lawton, has protected exclusive wildlife habitats considering that 1901 which is the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Services procedure.[1] The refuge's locale while in the geologically exclusive Wichita Mountains and its regions of undisturbed mixed grass prairie make it a very important conservation location. The Wichita Mountains are close to five hundred million years aged.[2][three] Measuring about fifty nine,020 acres (238.eight km2), the refuge hosts a fantastic range of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and 64 reptiles and amphibians are current.

Record - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Forest Reserve was set up by the final Land Office in Oklahoma on July four, 1901, with fifty seven,120 acres (231.2 km2). After the transfer of federal forests towards the U.S. Forest Provider in 1905, it grew to become a National Forest on March 4, 1907, as Wichita National Forest.

On June 4, 1936, the Wichita Forest designation was abolished and transferred for the Bureau of Biological Study, a precursor into the Fish and Wildlife Provider. It had been re-specified the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR).[4][five]

America Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

July 4, 1901 William McKinley ~ Proclamation 459 - Establishment of the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[6]

January 24, 1905 58th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Forest and Recreation Reserve Act of 1905[7]


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[nine]

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[eleven]

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


Description - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The WMWR is managed via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Support. You will discover 13 smaller lakes inside the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie dog

In accordance with the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 240 species of birds, fifty species of mammals, 64 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 36 species of fish are documented.[15]

Bison with vegetation close to French Lake

Various species of enormous indigenous mammals make their home in the refuge: plains bison, often called the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies in addition to Texas longhorn cattle preserved for their cultural and historic relevance.[sixteen] Bison, longhorns, and elk have been introduced once the institution in the refuge. Merriam's elk, the first subspecies of elk With this spot, is extinct, And so the elk inside the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors from the herd were imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the biggest in Oklahoma at about one,000[18] and also the white tailed deer number about 450. These ungulates are no more considered endangered.[19] Lots of more compact mammal species also live in the refuge, including the nine-banded armadillo, bassarisk, and the black-tailed prairie Pet dog. Other species that were reintroduced involve: the river otter, burrowing owls along with the prairie dog. Although these species were not outlined as "endangered," USFWS policy would be to assure that species that after were native to those mountains would generally be uncovered there.[19] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Heritage and Tradition, the refuge failed in its try and reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and also the prairie rooster.[20]

The conservation of bison is now an ongoing, numerous effort and hard work. along with the refuge was critical in preserving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Culture transported 15 bison, 6 bulls and nine cows, with the Bronx Zoo. On arrival, the Comanche leader Quanah Parker and a bunch of other Indians and whites turned out to welcome the bison. At that time, bison were extinct over the southern Excellent Plains for 30 yrs. The bison herd now quantities about 650 about the refuge.[21] In tumble, bison in extra from the carrying capacity on the refuge were being auctioned off but this apply was led to 2020 when the refuge joined in the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative with the Division of the Interior has 5 central objectives: wild, wholesome bison herds; genetic conservation; shared stewardship; ecological restoration; and cultural restoration. It strengthened mechanisms for shipping of bison to Indigenous American tribes from federal herds.[23] In 1973, the refuge aided bison conservation by donating three bison into the Fort Well worth Character Center and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is home to quite a few species of birds, and it is one of the remaining households of your lately delisted black-capped vireo.

Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically assorted, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The many uncovered granite boulders make Extraordinary habitat for a very photogenic, chartreuse eco-friendly lichen called "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Portions of your refuge comprise scrubby forest of mixed oak types. A disjunct inhabitants of bigtooth maple is uncovered here, four hundred miles (640 km) from the closest organic populace in West Texas.[26]

Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Bison calf, WMWR

There isn't a admission cost. General public use places over the refuge total 22,four hundred acres (9,100 ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife location (fifteen,000 ha) is shielded wildlife habitat only.[27] A visitor Heart and bookstore displays art and has displays illustrating the 4 significant habitats observed about the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Combined-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]

The refuge is a well-liked vacation spot for leisure actions. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly common, but guests also love hiking, camping, fishing, fowl and wildlife viewing, and pictures. The refuge has an extensive trail system, like about fifteen miles of Formal trails. The area grew to become preferred for rock climbing starting during the sixties and nineteen seventies, and is becoming a little something of a regional mecca. However climbing has brought many readers towards the refuge, some controversy exists more than the use of fixed anchors, bolts as well as other forever put objects over the rock confront. The refuge has joined Using the Access Fund as well as the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to promote responsible use of the Wichitas' methods.[29] Rock climbing routes are found on Mt. Scott, the refuge's 2nd best summit, along with regions such as the Narrows as well as the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area.[30]


Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is preferred inside the thirteen artificial lakes to the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][forty][41][42][43] Elk and deer hunting, to cull too much quantities, is permitted in a managed hunt each and every slide. Hunters are picked out by lottery along with a rate is billed. A narrow winding street brings about the summit of Mount Scott, elevation two,464 ft (751m), with a view that encompasses the whole refuge. Although the mountains increase only 800 to one thousand feet higher than the surrounding prairie, They can be steep and rocky. The highest mountain inside the refuge is Mount Pinchot which rises to two,479 ft (756m).[forty four][forty five] Mount Pinchot was named in honor of Gifford Pinchot who served as the 1st Main of America Forest Assistance.