Where is the Deep
Fork National Wildlife Refuge? Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge is located in
Okmulgee, Oklahoma, thirty five miles south of Tulsa if traveling I-75 South,
and one hundred miles from Oklahoma City. From I-75, turn left onto Lavender Road and
follow for 2.5 miles until the road dead ends. Turn left onto S 250 Road and
drive for 2 miles. The refuge headquarters building and Cussetah Bottoms
Boardwalk Trail will be on the right.
When was Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge established? Deep Fork National
Wildlife Refuge was established in 1993.
How big is the refuge? Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge is currently 10,000
acres, however the proposed boundary size is 18,300 acres after the acquisition
of all proposed lands. The land managed
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a patch work of publicly held tracts
that are interlaced with privately held acreage. Boundary signs are numerous
upon the refuge, which make the distinction between these public areas and
Why is the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge here? The Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge offers a crucial resource for
waterfowl migrating along the Central Flyway in the spring and fall. Floods replenish the lush bottomland hardwood
forest each year, which consist of trees such as the bur oak, pin oak, black
walnut, pecan, cottonwood, hackberry, and river birch. These trees take root in
rich alluvial soils which are then deposited throughout the bottomlands
adjacent to the Deep Fork River when it swells over its banks. Wildlife is
diverse and abundant in the Deep Fork bottomland hardwood forest. Four of the state’s species of special
concern dwell here: the river otter,
Bell’s vireo, alligator snapping turtle, and the northern scarlet snake. Some 254 bird species rely on the refuge for
at least part of the year, and biologists have confirmed 51 mammal species in
the Deep Fork River basin. In addition,
Okmulgee County is home to over 50 species of reptiles and 22 species of
What can I do at Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge? Around 45,000 visitors participate in a variety of activities at the
refuge each year. Hunting, fishing, hiking,
wildlife observation, wildlife photography, interpretation, and environmental
education are the primary recreational activities supported by the refuge. 2,000 students visit the refuge annually for
environmental education programs, including the annual Okmulgee County Archery
Day. The refuge maintains a fishing area
at Montezuma Creek, the Railroad Trail and River Overlook, the Cussetah Bottoms Boardwalk area, as well as twenty five miles
of unimproved trails and roads that connect our twenty two parking lots with
our hunting and wildlife observation areas. Canoeing and kayaking are popular
around the Deep Fork River.
Are pets allowed? Domesticated pets such as dogs and cats are allowed on the
refuge, however they must be kept on a leash or securely inside the cab of a
vehicle during the duration of their stay. Farm and ranch animals such as
cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, goats, and domesticated fowl are not allowed.
Can I bring and release domesticated animals and/or wildlife on the refuge?
Releasing any animal (wildlife or unwanted
pets) on the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge without the refuge manager’s
permission is illegal and subject to a fine. If you have found injured wildlife
please call your local wildlife rehabilitation center, and if you can no longer
care for your pet please contact your community animal shelter.
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Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to see migrating songbirds. After leaving their southern wintering grounds, the migratory birds begin arriving in March where the brightly colored males court the females before building a nest. Look for these beautiful, small birds, including eastern bluebirds, prothonotary warblers, painted and indigo buntings and more.