Sunday, son Logan and I ventured off into deep eastern Oklahoma to the JT Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve northeast of the town of Tahlequah.
It is a 17,000 acre former cattle ranch that the Nature Conservancy took over in 2000 and it is now the largest privately protected block of land in the Ozarks. It is almost a complete ecosystem of its own.
The Conservancy has reintroduced fire and is replacing the former bermuda meadows with tallgrass prairie to try and reestablish what the landscape looked like long ago. From the six mile drive across the property it looks like they are succeeding. The open meadows are very lush. The burned landscape really opens up the woods.
They reintroduced elk in the area in 2005. We got a glimpse of one through the trees but I did not get a decent photo of it. We also saw white tailed deer on our hike.
The only thing I wish is that they had more trails. We hiked two out of the three available and it was 2.3 miles. They packed a lot into that short distance with a variety of sights from ridge tops to creek bottoms, woods to savannas.
It was a good outing. We were the only ones there. The headquarters was closed but they had a great display on the area, the trails, where the trails were and how to get to them. The trails were spotless. No litter or vandalism or anything. Of course you really have to want to go there to get there. We drove across six miles of very bumpy and rocky road to get there.
Logan really liked the peacefulness of the site.
Check the link if you want to visit. They provide directions and all sorts of other information.