Nature Photography: 10 Misconceptions Your Boss Has About Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern Oklahoma around Lawton, has shielded special wildlife habitats considering that 1901 and is particularly the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Assistance method.[one] The refuge's site during the geologically distinctive Wichita Mountains and its regions of undisturbed combined grass prairie make it a significant conservation location. The Wichita Mountains are around five hundred million yrs outdated.[2][3] Measuring about fifty nine,020 acres (238.eight km2), the refuge hosts a terrific variety of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish,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 current.

Record - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge


The Wichita Forest Reserve was founded by the overall Land Place of work in Oklahoma on July 4, 1901, with fifty seven,a hundred and twenty acres (231.2 km2). Following the transfer of federal forests towards the U.S. Forest Company in 1905, it turned a Countrywide Forest on March 4, 1907, as Wichita National Forest.

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

Usa Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

July 4, 1901 William McKinley ~ Proclamation 459 - Institution with the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[six]

January 24, 1905 58th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Forest and Sport 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 four, 1936 74th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Act of 1936[10]

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


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

Description - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The WMWR is managed because of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Company. There are thirteen compact lakes within the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie Pet dog

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

Bison with vegetation about French Lake

Quite a few species of large native mammals make their residence for the refuge: plains bison, generally known as the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies in addition to Texas longhorn cattle preserved for their cultural and historic great importance.[16] Bison, longhorns, and elk have been introduced once the institution of the refuge. Merriam's elk, the initial subspecies of elk Within this place, is extinct, Hence the elk while in the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors from the herd had been imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the most important in Oklahoma at about one,000[eighteen] and also the white tailed deer variety about 450. These ungulates are not regarded endangered.[19] Quite a few lesser mammal species also are in the refuge, including the 9-banded armadillo, bassarisk, and also the black-tailed prairie Canine. Other species that have been reintroduced consist of: the river otter, burrowing owls as well as the prairie Doggy. Although these species weren't detailed as "endangered," USFWS plan is always to guarantee that species that once ended up native to these mountains would often be uncovered there.[19] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Heritage and Society, 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 becoming an ongoing, assorted exertion. plus the refuge was crucial in saving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Culture transported 15 bison, six bulls and 9 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 had been extinct over the southern Excellent Plains for 30 many years. The bison herd now quantities about 650 over the refuge.[21] In tumble, bison in excessive from the carrying capability of the refuge have been auctioned off but this follow was led to 2020 when the refuge joined while in the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative via the Office of the Interior has five central ambitions: wild, nutritious 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 three bison towards the Fort Worthy of Character Middle and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is property to lots of species of birds, and it has become the remaining households on the recently 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 Fantastic habitat for a particularly photogenic, chartreuse inexperienced lichen often known as "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Portions in the refuge consist of scrubby forest of mixed oak kinds. A disjunct population of bigtooth maple is identified in this article, 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 demand. General public use areas within the refuge complete 22,400 acres (nine,one hundred ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife location (15,000 ha) is secured wildlife habitat only.[27] A customer Centre and bookstore displays artwork and it has exhibits illustrating the 4 important habitats uncovered on the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Mixed-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]


The refuge is a well-liked vacation spot for recreational activities. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly well-known, but readers also delight in climbing, tenting, fishing, bird and wildlife looking at, and images. The refuge has an intensive path procedure, which includes about 15 miles of official trails. The area became popular for rock climbing beginning in the 1960s and nineteen seventies, and happens to be one thing of a regional mecca. Even though climbing has brought quite a few people to the refuge, some controversy exists around using mounted anchors, bolts as well as other permanently placed objects to the rock deal with. The refuge has joined with The Entry Fund along with the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to promote liable use in the Wichitas' resources.[29] Rock climbing routes are uncovered on Mt. Scott, the refuge's next optimum summit, together with parts such as the Narrows as well as Charon Gardens Wilderness Space.[30]

Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is popular within the thirteen artificial lakes to the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][forty][41][42][43] Elk and deer looking, to cull too much numbers, is permitted within a managed hunt each tumble. Hunters are chosen by lottery as well as a charge is charged. A narrow winding street leads to the summit of Mount Scott, elevation two,464 ft (751m), using a see that encompasses The full refuge. Although the mountains rise only 800 to a thousand toes higher than the bordering prairie, They're steep and rocky. The highest mountain during 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 Chief of America Forest Service.