Wichita Mountains Issue New Restrictions On Hiking
Since Southwest Oklahoma has jumped into the lava pool with these soaring summer temperatures, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has issued new restrictions on hiking in the mountains until the weather chills later this year.
For the time being, here are the new rules:
1. Hiking is permitted from sunrise until 10 a.m. ONLY.2. All visitors must exit the trails and the Mt. Scott Roadway no later than 10 a.m.3. After 10 a.m., the Refuge will be closed to hiking, except in established picnic areas and campgrounds.
Additionally, backcountry camping is now officially prohibited during this emergency time of closure.
The reason for these temporary restrictions is due to the forecast of seemingly unending 100°+ days as the weather settles in for a brutal SWOK summer... but this announcement comes just days after rescue crews were able to locate and recover a hiker that died on the trail recently.
Naturally, these extremely high temperatures mixed with rocky, dusty conditions pose a real threat to anyone out in nature enjoying it. One might even say "Well I'm only posing a risk to myself, who are they to babysit me?" It's a righteously libertarian (lower-case) way to look at it, but it's not exactly an accurate thought in the refuge.
If you do encounter troubles while enjoying nature at your own risk, that risk is then shared by rescue crews and volunteers than might need to respond to offer you help. Ergo, the weather and conditions aren't just a threat to the individual.
You can still hike, you just have to get an earlier start at it. Vehicles and bicycles aren't impeded by these restrictions, nor is fishing. If you want to find a way to spend the day in the mountains, you should stop by the visitor center. They'll have tons of fun suggestions for you.
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