Wildlife Photography: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: It's Not as Difficult as You Think

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, located in southwestern Oklahoma in the vicinity of Lawton, has guarded distinctive wildlife habitats since 1901 and it is the oldest managed wildlife facility in The usa Fish and Wildlife Company process.[one] The refuge's area in the geologically exclusive Wichita Mountains and its regions of undisturbed blended grass prairie ensure it is an important conservation area. The Wichita Mountains are approximately 500 million several years aged.[two][3] Measuring about fifty nine,020 acres (238.8 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 present.

Background - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Forest Reserve was recognized by the final Land Place of work in Oklahoma on July four, 1901, with 57,120 acres (231.two km2). After the transfer of federal forests for the U.S. Forest Service in 1905, it became a National Forest on March four, 1907, as Wichita Nationwide Forest.

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

Usa Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

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

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

June 2, 1905 Theodore Roosevelt ~ Proclamation 563 - Redesignating the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[eight]

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[twelve][thirteen]

Description - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The WMWR is managed through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. You will discover thirteen tiny lakes inside the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie Doggy

According to the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Company, 240 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, 64 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 36 species of fish are documented.[15]


Bison with vegetation all around French Lake

Numerous species of huge native mammals make their home with the refuge: plains bison, often called the American bison, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies along with Texas longhorn cattle preserved for his or her cultural and historic value.[16] Bison, longhorns, and elk ended up introduced once the institution in the refuge. Merriam's elk, the original subspecies of elk Within this location, is extinct, Therefore the elk within the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors in the herd ended up imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911.[seventeen] The elk herd is the largest in Oklahoma at about 1,000[eighteen] along with the white tailed deer amount about 450. These ungulates are no more regarded as endangered.[19] Numerous smaller mammal species also are in the refuge, including the 9-banded armadillo, bassarisk, and also the black-tailed prairie Puppy. Other species that have been reintroduced include things like: the river otter, burrowing owls and also the prairie Puppy. Though these species weren't stated as "endangered," USFWS policy is usually to assure that species that when ended up indigenous to those mountains would often be uncovered there.[19] According to the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Heritage and Lifestyle, the refuge failed in its make an effort to reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and also the prairie chicken.[twenty]

The conservation of bison is becoming an ongoing, numerous effort. along with the refuge was vital in saving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Society transported 15 bison, 6 bulls and 9 cows, in 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 had been extinct about the southern Terrific Plains for thirty yrs. The bison herd now figures about 650 to the refuge.[21] In tumble, bison in surplus in the carrying potential from the https://wfphoto.biz/wichita-mountains-wildlife-refuge/ refuge have been auctioned off but this exercise was resulted in 2020 in the event the refuge joined inside the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative because of the Section of the inside has 5 central targets: wild, nutritious 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 three bison into the Fort Value Mother nature Centre and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is residence to lots of species of birds, and it is one of the remaining homes in the recently delisted black-capped vireo.


Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically varied, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The many uncovered granite boulders make Fantastic habitat for a very photogenic, chartreuse inexperienced lichen referred to as "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Parts with the refuge consist of scrubby forest of combined oak varieties. A disjunct population of bigtooth maple is identified listed here, four hundred miles (640 km) from the nearest natural inhabitants in West Texas.[26]

Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Bison calf, WMWR

There isn't a admission demand. Community use places about the refuge total 22,400 acres (nine,a hundred ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife place (15,000 ha) is guarded wildlife habitat only.[27] A visitor center and bookstore shows art and has displays illustrating the 4 significant habitats discovered on the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Mixed-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]


The refuge is a well-liked spot for recreational routines. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly well known, but website visitors also love hiking, tenting, fishing, chook and wildlife observing, and pictures. The refuge has an in depth path method, including about fifteen miles of Formal trails. The world grew to become preferred for rock climbing starting while in the 1960s and nineteen seventies, and is becoming something of a regional mecca. Nevertheless climbing has brought lots of website visitors on the refuge, some controversy exists in excess of using preset anchors, bolts as well as other forever positioned objects on the rock face. The refuge has joined Along with the Accessibility Fund as well as the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to market liable use of your Wichitas' methods.[29] Rock climbing routes are found on Mt. Scott, the refuge's next greatest summit, together with regions like the Narrows and also the Charon Gardens Wilderness Area.[thirty]

Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is well-liked while in the thirteen synthetic lakes about the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][forty one][42][forty three] Elk and deer looking, to cull excessive quantities, is permitted inside a managed hunt each individual tumble. Hunters are chosen by lottery as well as a price is charged. A narrow winding road results in the summit of Mount Scott, elevation 2,464 ft (751m), using a check out that encompasses the whole refuge. Even though the mountains rise only 800 to 1000 feet over the bordering prairie, They are really steep and rocky. The best mountain within the refuge is Mount Pinchot which rises to 2,479 ft (756m).[44][45] Mount Pinchot was named in honor of Gifford Pinchot who served as the 1st Chief of America Forest Service.