Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Amateur landscape photographer and adventurer Trent Morris of Poteau, Oklahoma, stood on a massive boulder atop Mt. Scott and let out a relaxed sigh. From his vantage point he could see for miles in all directions and held his camera close to his chest, as if trying to decide where to start shooting. He made the trip from Arkadelphia, AR, to Mt. Scott to see what the Wichita Mountains have to offer.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is home to several different species of animals and hundreds of plants. Located northwest of Lawton, Oklahoma, on Highway 49, this stunningly rugged and beautiful 59,020 acre refuge has been managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service since it's establishment in 1901. There are many recreational activities that guests and enjoy while they visit, including: camping, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, and even attending a bison or longhorn auction.

After he took in the breath taking panoramic view, Morris put his camera away and tried his hand at bouldering. He found an idea rock formation 100 yards down the west side of the peak and started climbing. "I trust my feet more than my hands," he explained while making his way up the rock face. Many avid rock climbers journey to the refuge to take advantage of the quality granite and multi-pitch courses and it is also a popular spot for repelling.

Although the landscape is beautiful, it's not without minor blemishes. Numerous discarded beer cans and water bottles lay out in the open near the heavy visited areas. The Refuge asks that all visitors please be courteous and dispose of all trash properly. With 59,020 acres to cover, the Refuge has also set up organized clean-ups and trail rehabilitation volunteer groups to help clear out the waste.

"It's a real shame that there is so much trash here," Morris said while picking up a water bottle. "People don't realize how much damage they can really do by throwing down a bottle." With rain starting to fall and only a dozen pictures taken, Morris decided it was time to pack up. "I'll have to come back sometime when it's not raining and when I have more time to do everything."

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is one locale that every Oklahoman should visit at least once, if not multiple times.

Photos by Kacy Lewis

1 comment:

  1. Hey Kacy,
    Think about flipping the order of your shots. Then they would "read" as Morris taking a photo > the photo he took (>= leads to in this sentence). Also, if the trash is part of the story, lets see. Makes sense?