Seeking Public Comments

Refuge proposing infrastructure improvements, seeking public comments.


The refuge requests public comment on a newly released draft Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA proposes to co-locate and consolidate multiple facilities to improve efficiency, modernize transportation infrastructure, and demolish unnecessary infrastructure at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. This project is funded through the Great American Outdoors Act, which is working to address the historically underfunded, multi-billion-dollar deferred maintenance backlog at our national parks, American Indian schools and public lands, including national wildlife refuges.

The EA proposes to demolish infrastructure around the current administrative compound, the abandoned Treasure Lake Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center site, and Charons Garden Wilderness Access points and restore those areas to natural conditions. A new Administrative compound is proposed to be constructed east of the current Visitor Center. To maintain access to the Wilderness Area, the EA also proposes to develop two new trailhead parking and access points with connecting trails, which will be completed before the closure of the two current trailheads.

The refuge currently offices staff throughout the refuge in six aging buildings that are beyond their expected lifespan. Antiquated communication lines, lack of potable water availability to most facilities, increasing facility maintenance costs, and health and safety concerns with the current administrative compound contribute to the need to consolidate facilities and increase efficiencies. The EA suggests that the removal of the abandoned Treasure Lake Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center, which has had criminal activity over the past few years, will improve aesthetics and community public safety. The EA also suggests that relocating and modifying access to Charons Garden Wilderness Area will improve wilderness characteristics, reduce maintenance costs, and provide for public safety and resource protection. Upon completion and area restoration, there will more habitat for wildlife and people to enjoy.

The draft EA is available. The EA may also be obtained by electronic request to wmr_publiccomment@fws.gov. Comments should be mailed to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, 32 Refuge Headquarters, Indiahoma, OK 73552, or sent via email to wmr_publiccomment@fws.gov. In order to be considered, all comments must be received by 11:59 p.m., November 1, 2021.

All comments on the draft EA are considered public records. Anonymous, oral, and social media comments will not be considered.