Nature Photography: What Will Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Be Like in 100 Years?

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton, has guarded exceptional wildlife habitats because 1901 and is the oldest managed wildlife facility in America Fish and Wildlife Services method.[one] The refuge's location while in the geologically distinctive Wichita Mountains and its areas of undisturbed blended grass prairie allow it to be a crucial conservation region. The Wichita Mountains are somewhere around five hundred million many years aged.[two][three] Measuring about fifty nine,020 acres (238.8 km2), the refuge hosts a fantastic range of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and sixty four reptiles and amphibians are current.

History - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge


The Wichita Forest Reserve was established by the General Land Workplace in Oklahoma on July four, 1901, with fifty seven,120 acres (231.two km2). Following the transfer of federal forests to your U.S. Forest Support in 1905, it turned a Nationwide Forest on March four, 1907, as Wichita Countrywide Forest.


On June four, 1936, the Wichita Forest designation was abolished and transferred to your Bureau of Organic Study, a precursor to your Fish and Wildlife Company. It had been re-designated the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR).[4][5]

Usa Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

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

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

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

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

June 4, 1936 74th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Act of 1936[10]

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

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

Description - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The WMWR is managed from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Support. You'll find thirteen smaller lakes within the reserve.[fourteen]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie Doggy

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 are actually documented.[fifteen]

Bison with vegetation around French Lake

Many species of large indigenous mammals make their household for the refuge: plains bison, also known as the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies in addition to Texas longhorn cattle preserved for their cultural and historic worth.[sixteen] Bison, longhorns, and elk were introduced once the establishment in the refuge. Merriam's elk, the initial subspecies of elk in this place, is extinct, so the elk during the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors with the herd were being imported from Jackson Gap, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the most important in Oklahoma at about 1,000[eighteen] along with the white tailed deer range about 450. These ungulates are not thought of endangered.[19] Lots of scaled-down mammal species also live in the refuge, such as the 9-banded armadillo, bassarisk, plus the black-tailed prairie Canine. Other species that were reintroduced involve: the river otter, burrowing owls plus the prairie Puppy. Despite the fact that these species weren't stated as "endangered," USFWS plan should be to guarantee that species that when have been native to those mountains would generally be uncovered there.[19] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Historical past and Lifestyle, the refuge unsuccessful in its make an effort to reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, as well as the prairie chicken.[twenty]

The conservation of bison is now an ongoing, varied effort. and the refuge was critical in conserving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Culture transported 15 bison, 6 bulls and 9 cows, within the Bronx Zoo. On arrival, the Comanche leader Quanah Parker and a host of other Indians and whites turned out to welcome the bison. At that time, bison had been extinct to the southern Terrific Plains for thirty a long time. The bison herd now numbers about 650 about the refuge.[21] In drop, bison in excessive of the carrying capacity with the refuge were being auctioned off but this apply was resulted in 2020 in the event the refuge joined within the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative with the Office of the inside has five central goals: wild, balanced bison herds; genetic conservation; shared stewardship; ecological restoration; and cultural restoration. It strengthened mechanisms for shipping of bison to Native American tribes from federal herds.[23] In 1973, the refuge aided bison conservation by donating 3 bison towards the Fort Well worth Mother nature Heart and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is home to several species of birds, and it has become the remaining households of the a short while ago delisted black-capped vireo.

Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically diverse, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The many uncovered granite boulders make Fantastic habitat for a particularly photogenic, chartreuse environmentally friendly lichen generally known as "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Parts of your refuge consist of scrubby forest of mixed oak varieties. A disjunct inhabitants of bigtooth maple is located right here, four hundred miles (640 km) from the nearest natural population in West Texas.[26]

Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Bison calf, WMWR

There isn't a admission charge. General public use areas on the refuge total 22,400 acres (9,100 ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife place (15,000 ha) is shielded wildlife habitat only.[27] A visitor Heart and bookstore shows art and it has displays illustrating the four significant habitats identified over the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Blended-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]

The refuge is a popular place for recreational routines. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly popular, but readers also delight in mountaineering, camping, fishing, chook and wildlife looking at, and photography. The refuge has an intensive trail procedure, which include about 15 miles of Formal trails. The area turned popular for rock climbing commencing from the sixties and seventies, and has become one thing of the regional mecca. However climbing has introduced lots of people into the refuge, some controversy exists more than the usage of set anchors, bolts and other completely positioned objects about the rock confront. The refuge has joined While using the Obtain Fund as well as Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to advertise dependable use with the Wichitas' means.[29] Rock climbing routes are located on Mt. Scott, the refuge's second greatest summit, and also locations such as the Narrows plus the Charon Gardens Wilderness Spot.[thirty]


Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is well-liked during the 13 artificial lakes over the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][forty three] Elk and deer hunting, to cull abnormal quantities, is permitted in the managed hunt just about every slide. Hunters are selected by lottery and also a price is charged. A slender winding highway contributes to the summit of Mount Scott, elevation two,464 ft (751m), using a view that encompasses The entire refuge. Even though the mountains rise only 800 to one thousand toes previously mentioned the bordering prairie, They can be steep and rocky. The best mountain from the refuge is Mount Pinchot which rises to two,479 feet (756m).[44][45] Mount Pinchot was named in honor of Gifford Pinchot who served as the very first Main of The us Forest Support.