Wichita Mountains NWR was established in 1935. It has 59,020 acres, and it is west of Lawton Oklahoma. The granite mountains were formed over 500 million years ago and stretch over to Amarillo, Texas (Palo Duro Canyon). At one time it was a large game preserve.
In 1907, 15 bison were brought here from the New York Bronx Zoo. The herd is presently maintained at 650 head.
One bull elk was brought here in 1908 with 20 more cows and bulls coming from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1912. There are about 700 elk on the refuge today.
In 1927, there were funds to purchase 30 longhorns. The herd is now 300.
In the 1930's, the CCC constructed 15 concrete dams for permanent water areas and most of the 8' high big game fence. Highway 49 runs the entire length of the refuge, and with big game roaming freely, the speed limit is 45 mph going down to 30 mph in some places.
The refuge has about 1.5 million visitors a year. There are 15 miles of hiking trails. There is also a campground in the refuge for tents and rv's with water and electric, plus a dump station.
Until next time...