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Exposure Volume 3, Spring 1998

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Updates
Refuge Notes
From the Board
Insights
Tales From The Gripped
Nature Guide
WMCC Announcements
ABC Notes
Donation Request
Congrats To...


UPDATES

VOLUNTEERS BLAZE TRAIL TO THE FUTURE

In a spectacular showing of the climbing community's commitment to preserving the climbing environment and protecting the natural resources of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, sixty-one volunteers from the Wichita Mountains Climbers Coalition, Texas Mountaineers, Oklahoma City Outdoor Network, Access Fund, Sierra Club, and Foss Lake Adventure Program successfully completed the Narrows Trail Project in an amazing two-day effort last spring.

Trail work was originally scheduled to be completed by thirty volunteers working on two consecutive weekends. However, severe storms and torrential rains forced the cancellation of the first weekend, and threatened to ruin any chances of completing the project as planned. But after several days of last minute phone calls and a lot of recruiting, an army of dedicated volunteers were enlisted for the single weekend effort.

The clouds finally cleared, and on May 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, volunteers and Refuge staff suffered through dehydration, sunburn, crushed fingers, sore muscles, poison ivy, insects and an occasional reptile to finish the heroic trail-building effort. Tons of rocks and boulders, some as large as refrigerators, were moved using only picks and pry bars; thick brush was cleared by hand; and hundreds of cubic yards of earthen material was moved with shovels and buckets. All totaled, more than 1700 feet of new trail was built and hundreds of feet of old erosional scars repaired.

The project, which was organized by the WMCC, is part of the organizations ongoing effort to assist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in minimizing the impacts of rock climbing on the Refuge. While not a direct result of climbing, soil erosion and trail degradation in the Narrows canyon had become a significant resource concern for Refuge Management as increasing numbers of hikers, climbers, and other visitors were frequenting this popular area. Much of the problem was due to the fact that the original trail system was never designed. Instead, it developed as early visitors to the Refuge began exploring the area by following "game" trails or taking the shortest and quickest path. As such, the trail lacked the correct design characteristics needed to prevent erosion, and after many years of heavy use, serious deterioration had occurred.

With a $4000 grant from the Access Fund, the WMCC secured the services of Mr. Jim Angell, President of Corplan, Inc., a trail consulting firm based in Bend, Oregon. Mr. Angell spent two weeks at the Refuge doing preliminary design work and supervising the volunteer effort. Based upon his detailed review of the area, the project was divided into two distinct phases. Phase one involved rebuilding the primary hiking trail from Boulder Cabin to the second crossing of West Cache Creek. Phase two was directed at the construction of a secondary trail for access to popular climbing routes on Zoo Wall and Leaning Tower. Mr. Angell's extensive knowledge and expertise resulted in a new trail system that not only protects Refuge resources, but also provides an outstanding scenic experience for anyone visiting the Narrows.

From its starting point at Boulder Cabin, the Narrows trail is unchanged as it heads east across grassy meadows towards a short rise. Beyond that, several sections were reconstructed as the trail turns south and crosses a rocky shoulder before dropping back down and heading east to the first crossing of West Cache Creek. Once across the creek, the heart of the new trail begins.

Gradually ascending southeast through trees and talus fields, the trail offers an outstanding view into the Narrows before reaching the base of an overhanging cliff band. As it continues to climb to the east, it crests the top of the main ridge, passing just above the point where the old trail climbed steeply uphill. Here, some of the worst erosion had occurred, as water run-off cut deep scars down the old trail's fall line. Many visitors will remember the two-foot deep trench that had eroded around an old tree, exposing large roots that had to be negotiated. But now, hikers and climbers will pass by this spot with only vague familiarity, as the erosional scar has been reclaimed.

After cresting the ridge, the trail gradually descends southeast through oak trees to the second crossing of West Cache Creek. Along this section, several more scenic overlooks into the canyon are found. The last two hundred feet of the trail drops down the narrow, steep slope above the creek. Here, the construction of several difficult switchbacks and rock walls were required to protect the slope from erosion and to provide an effective descent to the creek. Once across the stream, the hiking trail is unchanged as it follows the creek along the remainder of the canyon.

Several hundred feet downstream, the new secondary trail for accessing Zoo Wall and Leaning Tower begins on the west side of West Cache Creek. Anyone familiar with the area will recall the serious erosional problems that had occurred below Zoo Wall as a result of years of indiscriminate scrambling by climbers to reach some of the most popular climbing routes on the Refuge. The new trail eliminates these problems by making several switchbacks up the steep slope to reach the base of the cliffs. This section required some very technical construction work, including the building of an eight-foot high rock wall to support a portion of the new trail.

With the successful completion of the Narrows Trail Project, most of the resource concerns associated with trail degradation and soil erosion in the Narrows have been eliminated. By effectively solving these problems, the WMCC has demonstrated its ability to provide valuable volunteer service to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Financial and other support for the Narrows Trail Project was also received from Hangdog Mountaineering, Lawton Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Backwoods, The Woodsman, American Rentals, and The Old Plantation Restaurant. Thanks to their generous donations, the WMCC was able to purchase the tools and equipment that were needed to accomplish the trail work. Following the completion of the Narrows Trail Project, these tools were donated to the Refuge for use on future trail projects.

The WMCC expresses its sincere appreciation to everyone who helped make the Narrows Trail Project a success. Thanks to their outstanding efforts, the Narrows Trail Project will long stand as a symbol of the climbing community's commitment to preserving the integrity of the Refuge for future visitors.

ABC MEETS WITH REFUGE

The Advisory Bolting Committee held its first meeting with Refuge Officials last September to consider Fixed Anchor Applications that were received in the 3rd Quarter of 1997. Those included, one application for a new route on Mt. Scott, and seven applications for maintenance of existing routes in the Meadows and the Narrows. Following a thorough review of the submittals, which included on-site inspections, the ABC submitted final recommendations to the Refuge Manager, as follows:

1) A new route application for the Upper Mt. Scott area was not recommended based on the fact that fixed anchors were not the only means by which the route could be reasonably protected.

2) In the Meadows, one application to add a fixed anchor to the existing single bolt belay on the route "Creek Show" and one to install a belay/rappel anchor on the route "Taco Time" were recommended. These additions provide combination belay/rappel stations, which will serve to reduce erosion-related impacts by eliminating the need to down climb. Two other applications to add belay/rappel stations on the routes "Blockade" and "Atomic Cafe" were not recommended. The committee determined it was not necessary to have a fixed belay/rappel station at the top of every route.

3) In the Narrows, three applications to replace existing fixed anchors were recommended for approval. The routes "League of Doom" and "Masters of Reality" will have their belays upgraded. On the route "Love Potion #8", all of the fixed anchors will be replaced.

Following final review, the Refuge Manager approved the committee's recommendations and issued the required permits to the applicants. This review process once again demonstrates the ability of the WMCC and the USFWS to work in cooperative partnership to preserve the integrity of climbing and to protect the natural resources of the Refuge.

NEW WMCC BOARD MEMBER APPOINTED

The WMCC Board of Directors has appointed Jimmy Forester of Dallas, Texas to replace outgoing Board member Julie Clardy, who announced her resignation this fall(see From the Board). Jimmy brings to the Board his extensive climbing background, considerable organizational abilities, excellent communication skills, and a sincere interest in protecting the integrity of our climbing resources at the Refuge. He is currently a member of the WMCC Advisory Bolting Committee, and will continue to serve in that capacity.

EXPOSURE invites news "Updates" related to climbing and the Refuge.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

REFUGE NOTES

By Betsy Rosenbaum, WMWR

Narrows Trail

This is a belated THANK YOU to all who participated in the Narrows Trail Project in May 1997. I sent individual thank you notes to all who were on the mailing list, but a few were returned to me indicating incorrect addresses. So if you did not hear from me, I apologize.

It was a tremendous effort by more than sixty volunteers and would not have been possible without each one of you. As a group, I think we were all amazed by our success as we watched the trail develop. By the end of two full days of work we had all learned new skills, made new friends, and, most importantly, contributed to the protection of a very fragile area.

A very special THANK YOU goes to Marion Hutchison who coordinated the entire project. He was responsible for planning the project, for obtaining the funding for the project through The Access Fund, "hired" Jim Angell (expert trail engineer), solicited all the volunteers and convinced local merchants they wanted to support the refuge by donating money and tools and materials. Marion has excellent organizational skills and we owe the success of the project to him.

Thank you all for your interest in Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge and for your efforts in the Narrows Trail Project. I look forward to working with you again.

Mountain Biking

The service road/trail around the north side of Mt. Scott is now open to mountain bikers. It is also open for foot traffic as well. Burma Road, the service road/boundary between Ft. Sill and the refuge just inside the Cache entrance, is now closed to bicycle traffic.

Permits are no longer required for mountain biking and there is no fee. No restrictions on group size, however it is recommended that groups be small with the intent of the activity geared to families and individuals for wildlife oriented recreation. Remember: 1) stay on the trail - no off- road traffic is allowed, and 2) this is a day use activity - no camping is allowed in this area.

Please park at the Elmer Thomas Lake parking area on Highway #49 (just inside the Medicine Park entrance) or the Cedar Plantings parking area on Highway #155 north (toward Meers) and do not block gates; emergency personnel or vehicles may need get through the gates.

The trail is about ten miles beginning near the west shore of Lake Lawtonka heading north and west around Mt. Scott and Mt. Wall and along the north boundary of the refuge ending at the Cedar Plantings just south of the Meers entrance. The area is quite scenic with open meadows changing to oak forests. The elevation changes frequently. Look for a variety of birds, coyote, bobcat, deer, elk, and bison.

New Area Code

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, as wells as most of the south and western part of Oklahoma, recently was assigned a new area code. The new area code is 580. Telephone numbers at refuge headquarters are:

580/429-3221 - primary line for incoming calls

580/429-3222 - secondary line for incoming calls *also answered by an answering service after hours and on weekends

580/429-9323 - FAX.


FROM THE BOARD

Volunteerism in its purist form represents the unselfish giving of ones time and energy to a greater cause; an unrequired effort that serves a greater good.

The Board wishes to recognize the outstanding dedication, service and volunteerism of outgoing Board member Julie Clardy, who announced her resignation this past fall upon the arrival of her new twins.

Julie was a charter member of the WMCC, and a founding officer of the Wichita Mountains Access Association. As a career staffer for U.S. Senator Don Nickles, Julie's political expertise was instrumental in securing congressional support for the WMAA's efforts to preserve climbing at the Refuge.

Julie's dedication to the WMCC was never more evident than when she showed up and participated in the Narrows Trail Project last May, all while several months pregnant.

Thanks Julie, for your years of dedication and volunteer service.

 

INSIGHTS

Human Ecology on the Climbing Frontier
By Keith Lenard

Introduction: Ecology is the study of the interaction of living and non-living components of a system. New thinking asserts the essential role that humans play in ecological systems. Enter Homo Sapiens ssp. climberus--an increasingly prevalent primate inhabitant of crags, mountains, and spires that gestates in the gym. In the late ‘80s, ssp. climberus entered a stage of geometric population increase. Likely long-term consequences include depletion of its habitat by the early 2000s. Widespread mortality will follow with only the most gym-tolerant surviving unless climberus can adapt to new conditions through behavioral changes. Social Darwinism? You bet.

This story is about climbers; and by necessity it is also about the land, its managers, other outdoor recreation user groups, plants, animals, and the political reality of being a climber in the ‘90s.

In the field of natural resource management, ecological reasoning has been applied to answer questions about what recreational opportunities of a ceratin quality exist or about the perception of conflict between competing user groups. Both the interactions between user groups, and between user groups and the land, are increasingly being examined within the new natural resource paradigm of ecosystem management. Indeed, recreational activities on public lands are being examined with a scrutiny never before encountered.

In implementing ecosystem management, land managers will act in such a way as to sustain, within acceptable limits of change, social and biological context of an area. Among other things, this means that if severe impact occurs to an area, they are likely to intervene with regulations and restrictions aimed at conserving existing resources, or slowing the rate of change.

The Way It Is: Enter the ‘90s. Outdoor recreation has been a marketing bonanza and the places we play are beginning to show the ill effects. Those charged with stewardship of the land-- historically land managers--have taken notice. Outdoor recreation provides a spectrum of experiences with varying degrees of risk and freedom. For climbers, the peak of the outdoor recreation pyramid is the unconstrained recreational opportunity. This is the stuff that climbers live and die for, that place where the margin is always close at hand.

The Margin: The edge of something. The place where all progress occurs. Whether it's the edge of fear, endurance, power, or understanding, the margin is the place beyond which you have not gone. Advances as a sport climber come when you push one move higher than you thought was possible; advances as an alpinist come when you hang it out one step further than you thought was prudent. Advances as a conservation-minded climber come when you break the mold of the past and perform actions previously thought unnecessary. The envelope cannot be defined without finding its outer limit. What does this mean for climbers?

The Way It Is at the Margin: Resource Management and Climbing in the ‘90s. On the surface, this means that the effects of our activity will be judged more carefully than at any point in our past. The notion of which conservation practices are appropriate must evolve in response to higher use levels and the recognition that we are no longer alone in the high and wild places we frequent. Impact to our climbing environment is often slow and incremental, and we often fail to notice as it occurs around us. Though not always obvious, we are in the close company of other user groups, land managers, and growing numbers of our own kind that often hold widely varying views. This increasingly necessitates adoption of a stronger ethic. This ethic must govern our choices in recognition of the special responsibility that comes with the privilege of visiting extraordinary places.

For climbers who care about future freedoms, this means one thing: educate yourself and others about the way your activity affects the land and the other people you share it with. This means going to the margin of what you think is necessary to know and to do, and then pushing beyond. It's not as romantic as blithely picking the plums on the new crag you "discovered", nor is it as unfettered as going anywhere and doing anything, a feeling near and dear to climbing hearts. But it is a course of conduct that will ensure the sustainability of places to practice our craft.

Here are some essential recommendations:

-Visualize a positive future for the crags you frequent and work to attain it. Ask yourself, what would a bleak future for this crag look like and how can I avoid it?
-Train yourself to recognize impact to the crag environment when you see it.
-If on private lands, find out who the land owner is, what their disposition toward climbing is, or their management objectives for the area.
-If on public lands, familiarize yourself with the other land management objectives of the areas you frequent and when exploring new routes, consider the long-term effects of your exploration on other resources.
-Familiarize yourself with the values of other recreationalists that you may share an area with and be willing and able to minimize activities that fuel the perception of conflict.
-When exploring new or seldom-used crags, consider trails or other ways to minimize impact to vegetation and wildlife.
-Have fun and keep climbing.

Keith Lenard is Director of Land Conservation for the Nature Conservancy in Lander, Wyoming. Previously, he served as Executive Director of the Access Fund, and has also worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School and the Bureau of Land Management. He spends his free time climbing difficult sport routes at Sinks Canyon and Smith Rock, and big walls in Yosemite Valley.

EXPOSURE invites responsible "Insights" concerning climbing resource protection and conservation issues.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

TALES FROM THE GRIPPED

Night of the Incubus
By Marion Hutchison

A sharp jolt to my back awoke me from my coma-like slumber. "Did you hear that?" Terry asked in an alarmed voice. I managed to open my eyes just long enough to notice that my watch read 2:00 a.m. "Go back to sleep," was all that I could mutter. No sooner had I dozed off, when I was again roused by Terry's apprehension. "Listen," he demanded. But I just pulled the sleeping bag over my head and went back to sleep. If I had only known what awaited us just beyond the imagined security of the nylon and mesh walls, I would have listened more intently.

It was late-August, 1981. Despite the record-setting heat wave, Terry and I had decided at the last minute to get in one more satisfying weekend of climbing before Fall Semester classes began. Not that homework and exams had ever interfered with our climbing; we just needed a good excuse to be on the rock in the 103-degree weather. While I had gathered a minimal amount of gear and what food I could find in our barren cabinets, Terry scavenged through the refrigerator for anything edible to toss into the ice chest. Our weekends fare: one bag of stale tortilla chips, some old cookies, half-a-head of wilted lettuce, an overripe tomato, and something that may have once been a cucumber. Food not fit for man nor beast. By the time we had left Norman that evening, it was already half-past nine. But it was a short drive to the Refuge from there, and we easily arrived at Burford Lake by 11:00 p.m. The full moon was directly overhead as we pulled into the parking lot, and I had quickly noticed that we would be the only ones camping there that night. Maybe it was the heat and humidity, or maybe it was all of the bugs, but whatever the reason the place was abandoned. We hoped that the next day the Narrows would be empty as well. By the time we had found a decent campsite and unloaded our scant supplies, it was almost midnight. The sky was clear and the temperature was well above 75 degrees; not much reason for a tent. But the insects were swarming, and we had quickly opted for the comfort. We set up the VE-24 in the trees some distance from the car, placed the ice chest within an arms reach for easy access, grabbed the chips and cookies, and zipped ourselves in for some quiet rest.

"Terry, wake up. There's something out there," I tried to whisper. I had abruptly awoken for the third time that night, only now it was Terry who was asleep. A sound like distant thunder filtered through the still air. As I struggled to make sense out of what I was hearing, I felt a definite pounding of the ground beneath me. Maybe it was a mild tremor, or maybe I was dreaming. I couldn't quite identify it, but something wasn't right. I shook Terry awake, but it was already too late; the invasion was underway.

Three or four monstrous figures moved past the front of the tent, eclipsing any hint of the remaining moonlight. At the same time, the rumbling of the ground grew more intense, while dreadful grunts and groans echoed through the trees. We both nervously pressed our faces against the netting, staring into the night to discern what form of beast had descended upon us. There in the darkness, just ten feet away, were the ominous silhouettes of a legion of mammoth creatures, ready for an assault. Their massive bodies appeared outfitted in thick fur and leather armor. Their immense demonic-looking heads were battle-ready with horns. For a moment we thought they were buffalo, but we were mistaken. These were not the docile and unintelligent animals we had so often passed on the trail. No, these were some nightmarish new breed; the bison had evolved.

As Terry and I tried to comprehend the situation, two of their warriors turned toward the tent and charged, stopping inches from the door. Then, in what we imagined was some form of satanic ritual, they began to destroy our ice chest with crushing blows from their mighty hoofs. Soon others joined them, and they began to ingest our unintended offerings. When the frenzy stopped, the incubus began circling the tent.

Anxiety would not adequately describe our state of mind. We were paralyzed by the fear and uncertainty. What were their intentions? Would they take us captive, or trample us to our grave? As we huddled in the center of the tent, afraid to move, we quietly reviewed our options: flee, and be chased down and sacrificed; or remain, and defend the fort. We stayed.

Suddenly, the confrontation escalated. A giant snout thrust through an open tunnel window, while another of the beasts grabbed the back of the tent and tried to flip us over. Several more took turns ramming the front of our fortress. What did they want? Was it us, or had they been offended by our rancid fodder? Whichever it is was, this was no accidental encounter. No, this was a well conceived and executed offensive: find a lone camping party away from witnesses, discreetly monitor their activity until they have turned in for the night, and then with quick and ferocious furry, attack. Maybe it was years in the making, waiting for just the right place and time to take final retribution for the slaughter of millions of their kind . . . this was it, Judgement Day.

Then, in a courageous defensive move, Terry reached across the tent, grabbed the snout of the intruder, and shoved it back into the night. The victory was short-lived though, as another began to enter from the opposite side. And then, they were invading into both windows at once. As we struggled to hold off this latest advance, a thunderous roar came from the trees. The war party scattered.

For several minutes we listened intensely, unsure if they were gone. Had it finally ended? What had saved us from our early demise? Still shaken from the encounter, I turned to unzip the netting and instantly froze. There, three feet in front of me, a single enormous specter blocked the doorway. It was by far the largest of the beasts. From ground to shoulder, it towered several feet above the top of the tent. There was no doubt, this was their leader. It briefly searched the remaining debris, but could find nothing to appease it. Then, with an irritated grunt, it turned and pressed its devilish face against the netting; its immense head filling the entire doorway. Its cold black eyes glared directly at us, as it took several deep breaths. We were so close you could feel the air surge by each time it exhaled. As we stared in horror, the old coil zipper began to separate. Things didn't look too good for us; the fort was about to fall. But in one final heroic effort, Terry placed a hand on the head of the beast and thrust it into the darkness. And the nightmare was over.

The entire episode, which seemed like an eternity, had lasted maybe thirty minutes. We both stared at each other in disbelief, not quite sure if it had really happened. As we crawled from the tent, the scattered pieces of our Styrofoam cooler attested to our ordeal. I scanned the trees for the slightest movement, but the incubus had vanished.

The next morning dawned sunny and warm. We were both exhausted, but looked forward to a pleasurable day of climbing. As we gathered our things, neither Terry nor I said much about our horrifying encounter. Maybe neither of us believed it, or maybe we didn't want to believe it. Whatever the reason, nothing about that fine morning seemed in any way connected to the bizarre events of the night before. That is, until we made the turn off the main highway for the Narrows. There, just twenty yards off the roadside, was a peaceful-looking group of buffalo lounging in the thick grass. I don't know what it was, but something about them seemed disturbingly familiar. And as we slowly drove by, they turned their heads and stared, and I swore I heard them laughing.

EXPOSURE invites short stories of memorable Refuge adventures.

 

NATURE GUIDE

Buffalo, or is it Bison?
By Betsy Rosenbaum
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

In North America, bison is the correct name for the largest native land mammal. They are generally called "buffalo", but the true buffalo of the genus Bubalus, are found in Africa and Southeast Asia (i.e. water buffalo). The term buffalo was probably used by the first Europeans to explore the New World and has continued in common usage ever since.

The bison was historically the principal resource of the Plains Indians, furnishing them with food, skins for shelter and clothing, bones for tools and utensils, and "buffalo chips" (dung) for fuel. Elimination of bison from the plains forced a change in the wide-ranging hunting life of the Indian. This change was accelerated in the last 40 years of the 19th century by the Indian wars, railroads, the establishment of the cattle industry, the coming of the buffalo hunter and thousands of land- hungry settlers.

Few wild animals have undergone a more devastating encounter with humans than the bison. The grasslands from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains were the home of 30 million plains bison when white settlers first arrived. Between 1830-80, the plains bison was reduced in numbers from 30 million to a mere handful. By 1900 there were but two small wild herds in all of North America, numbering only 550 animals.

A number of dedicated men led to the fight to save the buffalo during the critical years between 1886 and 1908. In 1905, William T. Hornaday, Charles J. "Buffalo" Jones, and others organized the American Bison Society. They demanded that the bison be given care and protection. Farsighted conservation leaders such as President Theodore Roosevelt also became concerned. They realized that this native American animal, so important in the development of the West, could easily become extinct and forgotten by generations of Americans yet unborn. If their campaign had not succeeded, the bison and most other species of America's big game animals, would be gone forever. Their efforts on the national level, spurred by local interest in the Oklahoma Territory, were largely responsible for the creation of the first federal big game refuge which was located in the Wichita Mountains of Oklahoma.

Through the efforts of the American Bison Society and the New York Zoological Society, an offer was made to donate 15 bison to the U.S. Government if Congress would appropriate sufficient funds to fence an area in the Wichita National Forest and Game Preserve in Oklahoma. Congress set aside $15,000 for this purpose and the fence was built. On October 11, 1907, 15 of the finest buffalo from the New York Zoological Park were shipped by rail to Oklahoma. Seven days later, these seven bulls and eight cows had been safely returned to the plains and mountains.

Over the past 90 years the bison have responded quite well to their surroundings on the protected range. Presently, the herd size is managed at approximately 500 animals. Since they have the capacity to double their numbers in a few years it is necessary to maintain a relatively constant population to insure adequate food and cover for the herd throughout the year. A public auction is held each year in October to sell surplus animals, most of which are calves born that year, but a few adult cows and bulls are occasionally sold as well.

JUST THE FACTS:
- Their vision is not well developed, but they see well enough - they can see moving objects much better than stationary objects, even at long distance
- They have very sensitive ears and can hear weak and distant sounds - the herd is very social and their grunts and bellows keep the group in touch with one another and also serve as warning signals of approaching danger
- They rely most heavily on their sense of smell to select their favorite food, to detect possible predators and to identify each other
- They are very curious and like to explore and inspect unfamiliar areas and objects using touch and smell, manipulating things mostly with their head
- They enjoy "touch" activity, scratching or body massage, rubbing their head, neck and sides on trees, stumps, and rocks, helping to groom themselves - the main grooming comes from wallowing on dry, bare soil
- Bulls are the largest, standing 6 feet at the hump and weighing 1,500 to 2,000 pounds, cows weigh 800 to 1,200 pounds and calves weigh 30 to 40 pounds at birth
- Both gender reach sexual maturity at about three years of age - bulls are dominant only a few years and older bulls are usually forced out of the herd and become solitary by age 10
- Rut or mating season is July and August, gestation is 9 months, and calves are born in March and April
- With their large chest and upper body, they have a huge lung capacity and can run all day, reaching and maintaining speeds up to 30 MPH!

Some herds appear tame, especially those in frequent contact with cars and people. Most bison will move away when humans approach, but they are territorial and will defend their turf. Probably the best way to describe their demeanor is unpredictable; they are likely to charge at any time. During aggression, they will hook you with their horns (usually in the groin or abdomen), toss you in the air, throw you to the ground, and then trample you. Always have an escape route planned or have something to use for cover such as a big rock or a tree to climb. Keep in mind that they are free to go where they want to on the refuge, they move 2 to 6 miles a day, and you may encounter one, or a herd, at any time around the next bend in the trail.

EXPOSURE invites informative articles about the plants, animals, and rocks of the Refuge.

 

WMCC ANNOUNCEMENTS

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED SATURDAY, MARCH 21ST FOR NARROWS TRAIL MAINTENANCE

The WMCC needs volunteers for one day of work on the Narrows Trail. Although the trail was rebuilt last spring, some minor repairs are now required following the one-year break-in period. Jim Angell, who flew in last year from Oregon, will be here again to supervise the effort. If you or anyone you know is available, please call Marion Hutchison at 405-364-9390 or email the WMCC at WichitaMtn@aol.com.

NEW WMCC EMAIL ADDRESS

Anyone with questions or comments about our organization can now contact the WMCC Board of Directors through our new email address:

WichitaMtn@aol.com

Note: the WMCC would like to have your email address on file. If you have a current address, please forward it to the WMCC at the above address. Thank you.

 

ABC NOTES

The Advisory Bolting Committee would like to express our thanks to the climbing community for your continued support in our effort to control the proliferation of fixed anchors on the Refuge.

 

CONGRATS TO...

...David and Jule Clardy on the birth of their twins.

 

DONATION REQUEST

The WMCC is requesting donations from its members and other supporting individuals or organizations to help ensure our continued success. All monies go to direct project expenses, such as printing and postage for the newsletter, telephone expenses, and equipment and supplies for important conservation projects. If at all possible, please fill out the attached Donation Form and return to the WMCC. Thank you.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 
Dedicated to protecting the climbing resources and natural environment of the Wichita Mountains