About the Refuge


Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge is unique in that it protects a diverse ecosystem comprised of continuous stands of forests overlying underground caves and tunnels, aquifers, underground streams and pools.


Above ground, the surface of this elaborate underground labyrinth is an old forest comprised of oak, hickory and ash, as well as rolling hills and rocky outcroppings.  Many of the plant and animal species found here are not only specific to the Ozark Plateau but many, because of their isolated environment, are unique to the caves or springs in which they are found.  

Located in eastern Oklahoma, it is on the southwest edge of the Ozark Plateau and Boston mountains. The refuge consists of nine separate units covering four counties and totaling approximately 4,200 acres.  

It was established in 1986 to protect the federally threatened and endangered species found in the Ozark Plateau’s cave system, including the Ozark big-eared bat, gray bat, Indiana bat, and Ozark cave fish. 

Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge is part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed for the benefit of wildlife and you.