[Weather] [50 Facts OK] [Cranes] [Bison] [YouTubeVids] [Texas] [WHAT] [Hawaii] [Southwest /Texas 2012] [Travel] [Blog] --- [OK eilee]
Edit [ToDO] [Notes]
A magical journey through the state formed in 1907 from the Indian and Oklahoma territories. Visits to friends and relatives. Bison sightings and much more. Oklahoma Native American (Right)
Oklahoma is the 20th most extensive and the 28th most populous of the 50 United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". With small mountain ranges, prairie, mesas, and eastern forests, most of Oklahoma lies in the Great Plains and the U.S. Interior Highlands, a region especially prone to severe weather. The population consists of a prevalence of English, German, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, plus many of Native American ancestry. More than 25 Native American languages are spoken in Oklahoma, second only to California.
Oklahoma is located in a temperate region. There are occasional extremes of temperature and precipitation. Most of the state lies in "Tornado Alley"; an average 62 tornadoes strike every year, which is one of the highest rates in the world. (Source: Oklahoma)
- Visit Norman, OK YT 1 min
- Oklahoma Tornado Good footage of formation of tornado that hit Norman Oklahoma on Apr 13, 2012 around 4PM. You watch it along with the narrator who, while driving around I-35 and Lindsey Street, is talking with someone on speaker phone. Scary. YT 7 min. For even more drama watch 3 min. YouTube vid below.
The majestic American bison can be seen along expansive pastures where native grasses sway in the breeze. At six feet tall and weighing about 1,000 pounds, each massive creature cuts a striking figure with thick brown fur contrasting against the deep blue Oklahoma sky. Take a road trip to one of these seven great destinations to see Oklahoma's state animal in all its glory.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge (outside link FWS) located in southwestern Oklahoma near Lawton, has protected unique wildlife habitats since 1901 and is the oldest managed wildlife facility in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service system. Measuring about 59,020 acres (238.8 km2), the Refuge hosts a great diversity of species: 806 plant species, 240 species of birds, 36 fish, and 64 reptiles and amphibians are present. The refuge's location in the geologically unique Wichita Mountains and its areas of undisturbed mixed grass prairie make it an important conservation area. The Wichitas are approximately 500 million years old.
Fauna Several species of large native mammals make their home at the refuge: Plains Bison, also known as the American buffalo, elk, white-tailed deer graze the prairies along with Texas longhorn cattle preserved for their cultural and historic importance. Bison, longhorns, and elk were introduced after the establishment of the refuge. Merriam's Elk, the original subspecies of elk in this area, is extinct, so the elk in the refuge are Rocky Mountain Elk. The ancestors of the herd were imported from Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1911. The elk herd now numbers about 800 and white tailed deer about 450. Many smaller mammal species also live in the refuge, including the Nine-banded Armadillo and the Black-tailed Prairie Dog.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was important in saving the American buffalo from extinction. In 1907 the American Bison Society transported 15 buffalo, six bulls and nine cows, from the New York Zoological Park to the refuge. On arrival, the Comanche leader Quanah Parker and a host of other Indians and Whites turned out to welcome the buffalo. At that time, buffalo had been extinct on the southern Great Plains for 30 years. The buffalo herd now numbers about 650 on the refuge. In fall, buffalo in excess of the carrying capacity of the refuge are rounded up and sold. The Refuge is home to many species of birds, and it is one of the remaining homes of the endangered Black-capped Vireo.
Refuge Visitor Center Open Daily: 9am to 5pm (Central Time Zone) for information, including maps, brochures and checklists. There are also a number of exhibits to enjoy and a short film to view.
Directions: From I-44 take Highway 49 (exit 45). Go west 10 miles to the Refuge gate. If coming from Highway 62, take Highway 115 (Cache exit) north to the Refuge Gate. You will find leaflet dispensers inside each of the Refuge gates that have maps and information. Contact Refuge Headquarters for more information. See the Maps section of this website for additional directions. The lat/long for the refuge visitor center is 34.710644 and -98.623426.
Bison Oklahoma Sources:
1 Wildlife Circle, Austwell, TX 77950
The Visitor Center is open Thursday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
The refuge posts Whooping Crane Updates while the cranes are on the Texas coast, their winter home.
created October 20, 2014; last updated October 22, 2014