Nature Photography: 20 Things You Should Know About Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern Oklahoma close to Lawton, has guarded one of a kind wildlife habitats due to the fact 1901 and is particularly the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service program.[1] The refuge's area from the geologically unique Wichita Mountains and its regions of undisturbed blended grass prairie enable it to be an essential conservation region. The Wichita Mountains are roughly 500 million yrs previous.[two][3] Measuring about 59,020 acres (238.eight 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.

Record - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Forest Reserve was set up by the final Land Business in Oklahoma on July four, 1901, with fifty seven,one hundred twenty acres (231.2 km2). Once the transfer of federal forests for the U.S. Forest Support in 1905, it became a National Forest on March four, 1907, as Wichita National Forest.

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


America Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

July four, 1901 William McKinley ~ Proclamation 459 - Institution on the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[six]

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

June two, 1905 Theodore Roosevelt ~ Proclamation 563 - Redesignating the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[8]


March 4, 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[ten]

November 27, 1936 Franklin D. Roosevelt ~ Proclamation 2211 - Wichita Countrywide 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 via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Support. There are 13 little lakes in the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie Puppy

Based on the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 240 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, 64 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 36 species of fish have already been documented.[15]

Bison with vegetation close to French Lake

Quite a few species of large native mammals make their dwelling at the refuge: plains bison, generally known as the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies together with Texas longhorn cattle preserved for his or her cultural and historic significance.[16] Bison, longhorns, and elk were launched after the establishment with the refuge. Merriam's elk, the original subspecies of elk In this particular region, is extinct, so the elk while in the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors from the herd ended up imported from Jackson Gap, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the largest in Oklahoma at about 1,000[18] plus the white tailed deer amount about 450. These ungulates are now not regarded as endangered.[19] A lot of lesser mammal species also are now living in the refuge, such as the 9-banded armadillo, bassarisk, and the black-tailed prairie Doggy. Other species which have been reintroduced involve: the river otter, burrowing owls along with the prairie Pet. Whilst these species weren't outlined as "endangered," USFWS plan is to assure that species that when were indigenous to those mountains would usually be located there.[19] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Background and Lifestyle, the refuge unsuccessful in its make an effort to reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, along with the prairie hen.[twenty]

The conservation of bison is now an ongoing, various effort and hard work. along with 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 the moment, bison were extinct to the southern Excellent Plains for 30 many years. The bison herd now quantities about 650 on the refuge.[21] In drop, bison in extra from the carrying capacity in the refuge ended up auctioned off but this follow was ended in 2020 once the refuge joined in the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative because of the Department of the Interior has five central ambitions: 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 to your Fort Worthy of Nature Centre and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is home to many species of birds, and it is amongst the remaining properties on the a short while ago delisted black-capped vireo.

Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically various, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The various exposed granite boulders make Remarkable habitat for a particularly photogenic, chartreuse environmentally friendly lichen known as "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Portions from the refuge consist of scrubby forest of mixed oak versions. A disjunct inhabitants of bigtooth maple is located here, 400 miles (640 km) from the closest all-natural population in West Texas.[26]

Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Bison calf, WMWR

There isn't a admission demand. General public use regions around the refuge complete 22,400 acres (9,100 ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife area (fifteen,000 ha) is guarded wildlife habitat only.[27] A customer center and bookstore displays art and has exhibits illustrating the 4 main habitats identified within the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Mixed-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]

The refuge is a popular desired destination for leisure functions. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly well-known, but site visitors also enjoy mountaineering, tenting, fishing, chicken and wildlife viewing, and photography. The refuge has an in depth trail procedure, which include about 15 miles of Formal trails. The region grew to become well-liked for rock climbing beginning while in the 1960s and nineteen seventies, and has grown to be some thing of the regional mecca. Nevertheless climbing has brought quite a few people towards the refuge, some controversy exists in excess of the usage of fastened anchors, bolts and also other forever put objects over the rock encounter. The refuge has joined with The Accessibility Fund as well as Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to advertise liable use on the Wichitas' sources.[29] Rock climbing routes are identified on Mt. Scott, the refuge's 2nd optimum summit, together with parts including the Narrows as well as Charon Gardens Wilderness Space.[30]

Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is well-known from the 13 artificial lakes around the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42][forty three] Elk and deer looking, to cull too much figures, is permitted in a managed hunt each drop. Hunters are preferred by lottery in addition to a charge is charged. A slender winding street brings about the summit of Mount Scott, elevation 2,464 feet (751m), with a see that encompasses The full refuge. Even though the mountains rise only 800 to 1000 ft earlier mentioned the bordering prairie, They may be steep and rocky. The highest mountain during the refuge is Mount Pinchot which rises to 2,479 toes (756m).[forty four][45] Mount Pinchot was named in honor of Gifford Pinchot who served as the main Chief of America Forest Company.