Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK

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#1)  Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK

Postby tsharp » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:10 pm

NTS:
On the way back from our Arizona sojourn Susan and I stopped and camped at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma.
This 50,000 acre refuge features restocked herds of Plains Buffalo, Rocky Mountain Elk and Longhorn Cattle. The native Elk used to be the Merriman’s subspecies until they became extinct. The Longhorns are maintained for historical and cultural reasons. 22,000 acres of the refuge are open to the public. A permit is required to visit he 8,000+ acre Charon Gardens Wilderness Area within the refuge.  
Of interest was the typical vegetation of the Cross Timbers region. Extensive grass lands interspersed with oak dominated woodlands in the rocky areas. From casual observation it appeared to be about a 50/50 mix of grass lands and woodlands. Post and Blackjack Oak dominated with a fair amount of Eastern Redcedar in some areas. It was amazing to me to see three common eastern species so far west.
The largest of three species measured are as follows:
Post OaK (Quercus stellata) 7.8’ x 44.3’
Black Jack Oak (Quercus marilandica) 2.5’ x 33.5’, 3.7’ x 31.2’
Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana ) 3.6’ x 35.7’
Apparently since the era of fire suppression the incidence of Eastern Redcedar has greatly increased. There was an obvious Redcedar plantation encountered. The first I have ever seen and I wonder what precipitated that effort. I did not measure any trees in that plantation.  
For more information about the refuge see:

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Wichita_Mountains/

For more information about the Cross Timbers check out the field trip reports under Oklahoma.

When in the area a not to be missed restaurant is one in Meers specializing in Longhorn steaks and burgers. The “town” of Meers is north of the refuge and is a former mining community. The restaurant looks like several old buildings were saved by cobbling them together to make an area big enough to seat fairly large clientele.

http://www.meersstore.com

For this message the author tsharp has received Likes - 4:
Chris, edfrank, ElijahW, Will Blozan
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#2)  Re: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Postby Chris » Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:57 am

Nice! I have always wanted to visited the Wichita Mountains.
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#3)  Re: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Postby jamesrobertsmith » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:39 am

Oh, man! Those funky little granite mountains have been on my must-see list for years! As soon as I can find the time I want to pull my travel trailer out there to go hiking there. Right near the top is the Charon Gardens Wilderness.
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#4)  Re: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Postby dbhguru » Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:52 am

Turner, Robert, Chris, et al.

   Interesting area. Monica and I visited it several years ago. The mountains (hills) are of volcanic origin. Black Mesa is Oklahoma's highest point. The lava formation continues on over into New Mexico where it becomes much more dramatic. Capulin National Monument, NM is the most scenic single feature of the region with a good road. The area in western Oklahoma and eastern new Mexico has been horribly over-grazed.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder and Executive Director
Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
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#5)  Re: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, OK

Postby edfrank » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:43 am

Turner,

Very nice trip report.  I like reading about new places and your adventures.  

               
                       
wichita.GIF
                                       
               


There was typo in your address for Meers Store above that I fixed.  

               
                       
meers.GIF
                                               
meers.GIF (145.6 KiB) Viewed 2254 times
               
               

http://www.meersstore.com/
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