Nature Photography: 20 Trailblazers Leading the Way in Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, situated in southwestern Oklahoma close to Lawton, has protected special wildlife habitats since 1901 and it is the oldest managed wildlife facility in The us Fish and Wildlife Assistance program.[1] The refuge's site inside the geologically unique Wichita Mountains and its regions of undisturbed combined grass prairie help it become an important conservation spot. The Wichita Mountains are around five hundred million yrs old.[2][three] Measuring about 59,020 acres (238.eight km2), the refuge hosts an awesome diversity of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and 64 reptiles and amphibians are current.

Heritage - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Forest Reserve was proven by the overall Land Business in Oklahoma on July 4, 1901, with 57,120 acres (231.2 km2). Once the transfer of federal forests towards the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, it turned a National Forest on March four, 1907, as Wichita Countrywide Forest.

On June four, 1936, the Wichita Forest designation was abolished and transferred on the Bureau of Organic Study, a precursor on the Fish and Wildlife Company. It was re-specified the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR).[4][five]


Usa 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 four, 1907 59th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita National Forest Act of 1907[nine]

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[eleven]

Oct 23, 1970 91st U.S. Congress ~ Wilderness Act of 1970[twelve][13]

Description - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The WMWR is managed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Company. There are 13 compact lakes in the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie dog

Based on the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Assistance, 240 species of birds, fifty species of mammals, sixty four species of reptiles and amphibians, and 36 species of fish are actually documented.[15]

Bison with vegetation around French Lake

Various species of large indigenous mammals make their home with the refuge: plains bison, generally known as the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies in conjunction with Texas longhorn cattle preserved for their cultural and historic value.[16] Bison, longhorns, and elk have been released following the establishment on the refuge. Merriam's elk, the first subspecies of elk in this area, is extinct, Therefore the elk from the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors of your herd had been imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the biggest in Oklahoma at about one,000[18] plus the white tailed deer variety about 450. These ungulates are no longer regarded as endangered.[19] Numerous more compact mammal species also live in the refuge, such as the nine-banded armadillo, bassarisk, and the black-tailed prairie Pet dog. Other species which have been reintroduced include: the river otter, burrowing owls plus the prairie Pet. Despite the fact that these species were not outlined as "endangered," USFWS plan should be to guarantee that species that once were being indigenous to these mountains would constantly be located there.[19] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Background and Society, the refuge failed in its try to reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, as well as prairie rooster.[20]

The conservation of bison has grown to be an ongoing, various exertion. and also the refuge was essential in saving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Culture transported fifteen bison, 6 bulls and nine cows, with 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 were extinct over the southern Fantastic Plains for thirty yrs. The bison herd now quantities about 650 to the refuge.[21] In tumble, bison in surplus with the carrying ability of your refuge were auctioned off but this apply was ended in 2020 in the event the refuge joined within the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative with the Section of the inside has 5 central targets: wild, healthful bison herds; genetic conservation; shared stewardship; ecological restoration; and cultural restoration. It strengthened mechanisms for delivery of bison to Native American tribes from federal herds.[23] In 1973, the refuge aided bison conservation by donating a few bison into the Fort Value Mother nature Center and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is household to numerous species of birds, and it is probably the remaining residences with the a short while ago delisted black-capped vireo.

Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically assorted, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The numerous exposed granite boulders make Remarkable habitat for a particularly photogenic, chartreuse environmentally friendly lichen generally known as "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Parts from the refuge include scrubby forest of mixed oak types. A disjunct inhabitants of bigtooth maple is found here, four hundred miles (640 km) from the nearest pure population in West Texas.[26]

Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge


Bison calf, WMWR

There is absolutely no admission charge. Community use areas to the refuge total 22,four hundred acres (nine,100 ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife spot (15,000 ha) is safeguarded wildlife habitat only.[27] A customer center and bookstore displays artwork and has reveals illustrating the four big habitats uncovered within the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Combined-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]

The refuge is a popular vacation spot for leisure activities. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly preferred, but readers also get pleasure from climbing, camping, fishing, chook and wildlife observing, and pictures. The refuge has an in depth trail system, including about 15 miles of official trails. The area turned preferred for rock climbing commencing from the nineteen sixties and 1970s, and has grown to be one thing of the regional mecca. Although climbing has brought lots of site visitors towards the refuge, some controversy exists about the use of mounted anchors, bolts and other permanently placed objects about the rock experience. The refuge has joined with The Accessibility Fund as well as the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to promote liable use on the Wichitas' methods.[29] Rock climbing routes are identified on Mt. Scott, the refuge's 2nd highest summit, and also parts like the Narrows along with the Charon Gardens Wilderness Location.[thirty]

Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is popular from the thirteen synthetic lakes to the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][forty two][43] Elk and deer hunting, to cull too much quantities, is permitted within a managed hunt every drop. Hunters are chosen by lottery plus a charge is billed. A slim winding road contributes to the summit of Mount Scott, elevation two,464 feet (751m), that has a check out that encompasses The full refuge. Although the mountains rise only 800 to one thousand toes over the bordering prairie, They are really steep and rocky. The highest mountain within 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 very first Main of the United States Forest Assistance.