Wichita Mountains Rescind Hiking Restrictions
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has officially ended its polarizing hot weather-related hiking restrictions. As we are enjoying a few days of normal June temperatures, reopening our public lands was a must.
From the Wichita Mountains Facebook page:
For Release: June 26th, 2022
Emergency Heat Closure in Refuge RescindedThe Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is back open to normal activities and hours of operation. The Emergency Heat closures have been lifted and all standard laws and regulations apply. We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and support during the closure and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused..Although the extreme heat has moderated, temperatures are still hot enough to pose safety risks to users. Please use caution when visiting the Refuge during the hotter times of the year. Bring and drink plenty of water, pay attention to weather forecasts, wear loose and light colored clothing that includes a cap or hat, and limit the amount of time you spend outdoors during the hotter parts of the day.The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.
The heat we've been experiencing so far this summer is just one of many elements that lead the refuge to restrict public access. As the temperatures climb the risk to hikers, and thus rescuers and volunteers becomes a real concern.
The temporary hiking restrictions didn't come without plenty of varying opinions. Some people saw it as a decent thing, to protect the inexperienced to intermediate hikers from their own failures, but others saw it as a knee-jerk reaction to the recent tragedy that left one hiker dead.
Regardless, it's in the past... for now. Feel free to go on enjoying the best outdoor space in Oklahoma while the weather is beyond amazing.
The Frozen Wichita Mountains
When Southwest Oklahoma gets a rare blizzard with serious snowfall, the mountains take on a fresh and stunning look. It's something we all get to experience thanks to the video and camera work of a few awesome locals with a stellar YouTube channel, The Pemberton Boys. They flew their drones and explored the mountains across SWOK while the views were grand, putting it online for everyone to enjoy.