Nature Photography: How Technology Is Changing How We Treat Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, situated in southwestern Oklahoma close to Lawton, has guarded distinctive wildlife habitats due to the fact 1901 and it is the oldest managed wildlife facility in The usa Fish and Wildlife Provider system.[one] The refuge's area during the geologically one of a kind Wichita Mountains and its areas of undisturbed combined grass prairie ensure it is an important conservation space. The Wichita Mountains are around five hundred million many years old.[2][3] Measuring about fifty nine,020 acres (238.8 km2), the refuge hosts an incredible variety of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and sixty four reptiles and amphibians are current.

Heritage - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The Wichita Forest Reserve was established by the overall Land Office environment in Oklahoma on July four, 1901, with 57,120 acres (231.two km2). Once the transfer of federal forests for the U.S. Forest Provider in 1905, it became a Countrywide Forest on March four, 1907, as Wichita Nationwide Forest.

On June 4, 1936, the Wichita Forest designation was abolished and transferred towards the Bureau of Biological Survey, a precursor towards the Fish and Wildlife Service. It absolutely was re-designated the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (WMWR).[4][5]

U . s . Observances and Statutes Governing Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

July four, 1901 William McKinley ~ Proclamation 459 - Establishment on the Wichita Forest Reserve, Oklahoma[6]

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

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


March four, 1907 59th U.S. Congress ~ Wichita Nationwide 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]

October 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 Service. You'll find 13 smaller lakes inside the reserve.[14]

Fauna - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Black-tailed prairie Puppy

Based on the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Provider, 240 species of birds, 50 species of mammals, sixty four species of reptiles and amphibians, and 36 species of fish are actually documented.[15]

Bison with vegetation all around French Lake

Quite a few species of large native mammals make their house on 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 significance.[16] Bison, longhorns, and elk were released once the establishment with the refuge. Merriam's elk, the first subspecies of elk During this place, is extinct, so the elk within the refuge are Rocky Mountain elk. The ancestors of your herd have been imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911.[17] The elk herd is the largest in Oklahoma at about 1,000[18] along with the white tailed deer number about 450. These ungulates are no longer considered endangered.[19] Several lesser mammal species also are in the refuge, including the nine-banded armadillo, bassarisk, as well as the black-tailed prairie dog. Other species which were reintroduced include: the river otter, burrowing owls along with the prairie Pet dog. Even though these species were not shown as "endangered," USFWS coverage would be to assure that species that when ended up indigenous to those mountains would normally be found there.[19] In accordance with the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma Historical past and Society, the refuge unsuccessful in its attempt to reintroduce the American pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and also the prairie hen.[twenty]

The conservation of bison is now an ongoing, diverse effort and hard work. plus the refuge was vital in saving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Culture transported fifteen bison, six bulls and 9 cows, from 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 on the southern Good Plains for thirty decades. The bison herd now figures about 650 to the refuge.[21] In drop, bison in extra of the carrying ability of your refuge were being auctioned off but this practice was resulted in 2020 if the refuge joined during the Bison Conservation Initiative.[22] The 2020 Bison Conservation Initiative through the Department of the inside has five central goals: wild, healthful bison herds; genetic conservation; shared stewardship; ecological restoration; and cultural restoration. It strengthened mechanisms for supply of bison to Native American tribes from federal herds.[23] In 1973, the refuge aided bison conservation by donating a few bison to your Fort Worth Nature Centre and Refuge.[24]

The refuge is household to quite a few species of birds, and it is among the remaining properties of the not long ago delisted black-capped vireo.

Flora - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The refuge is ecologically diverse, with prairie, ravine, and mountain plant communities. The numerous exposed granite boulders make Outstanding habitat for a particularly photogenic, chartreuse environmentally friendly lichen often known as "Pleopsidium flavum."[twenty five] Portions of the refuge include scrubby forest of combined oak types. A disjunct inhabitants of bigtooth maple is uncovered below, four hundred miles (640 km) from the nearest pure populace in West Texas.[26]


Recreation - Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Bison calf, WMWR

There is absolutely no admission demand. Public use areas to the refuge overall 22,400 acres (nine,one hundred ha). The remaining 37,000-acre wildlife place (fifteen,000 ha) is safeguarded wildlife habitat only.[27] A customer Heart and bookstore shows artwork and has displays illustrating the four main habitats discovered to the refuge: Rocklands, Aquatic, Blended-Grass Prairie, and Cross Timbers.[28]

The refuge is a popular spot for recreational things to do. Rock climbing is overwhelmingly well-known, but readers also enjoy mountaineering, camping, fishing, hen and wildlife seeing, and photography. The refuge has an extensive trail method, which includes about 15 miles of Formal trails. The area grew to become well-known for rock climbing starting during the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies, and has become some thing of the regional mecca. Nevertheless climbing has introduced numerous visitors into the refuge, some controversy exists over using mounted anchors, bolts and also other forever put objects about the rock encounter. The refuge has joined Along with the Entry Fund plus the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition to promote accountable use from the Wichitas' assets.[29] Rock climbing routes are uncovered on Mt. Scott, the refuge's 2nd best summit, and spots such as the Narrows and also the Charon Gardens Wilderness Space.[thirty]

Fishing for largemouth bass, sunfish, crappie, and channel catfish is common in the thirteen synthetic lakes within the refuge.[31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][forty][41][42][forty three] Elk and deer hunting, to cull excessive numbers, is permitted in a very managed hunt just about every slide. Hunters are picked out by lottery plus a charge is billed. A slender winding road results in the summit of Mount Scott, elevation 2,464 toes (751m), that has a look at that encompasses The full refuge. Even though the mountains rise only 800 to 1000 toes earlier mentioned the bordering prairie, These are steep and rocky. The highest mountain from 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 Chief of The usa Forest Service.