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McCurtain County Wilderness Area

Broken Bow
OK 74728

Nestled in northern McCurtain County, the McCurtain County Wilderness Area (MCWA) is a pristine sanctuary spanning approximately 14,000 acres. This natural gem, located adjacent to the Broken Bow Reservoir and the Ouachita National Forest, is the oldest Oklahoma Wildlife Department area. It is also honored to be the most extensive virgin Shortleaf pine and hardwood forest remaining in the nation. MCWA offers visitors a captivating wilderness experience with its untouched landscapes and rugged terrain.

As you explore the MCWA, you’ll encounter diverse ecosystems. Most of the area is covered by virgin forests, dominated by majestic Shortleaf pines and hardwoods. Along the meandering stream courses, you’ll find pockets of riparian forest featuring hardwood species such as sweet and black gums, red maple, and elms. The MCWA’s rugged terrain, virgin forests, and proximity to the Reservoir create a scenic wonderland that showcases some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the state. This area receives an average annual precipitation of approximately 45 inches, contributing to the lushness and vitality of its natural surroundings.

Please note that the MCWA is open exclusively for controlled deer and turkey hunts, providing a unique opportunity for hunting enthusiasts to test their skills in this pristine wilderness setting. White-tailed deer are present in fair numbers, offering hunters a chance to pursue these magnificent creatures. Eastern wild turkeys also thrive within the area, providing an exciting challenge for turkey hunters. Additionally, the MCWA is home to cottontail and swamp rabbits, although their numbers are relatively low. Furbearers like coyotes, bobcats, and raccoons can also be found within the area. On occasion, migrating waterfowl and resident wood ducks grace the Reservoir, adding to the diversity of wildlife.

The MCWA is not just a haven for game species; it also harbors several non-game species of interest. One notable inhabitant is the red-cockaded woodpecker. This small population of red-cockaded woodpeckers, the last known in Oklahoma, finds refuge within the MCWA. Their presence highlights the area’s commitment to conserving and protecting these endangered birds. Additionally, Bald Eagles routinely winter on the Broken Bow Reservoir and Mountain Fork River, providing a captivating sight for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

Fishing enthusiasts will find excellent opportunities on the Reservoir and in the Mountain Fork River, offering a bountiful selection of fish species. However, it’s important to note that fishing is not permitted on the streams within the wilderness area itself. Camping facilities are not developed within the MCWA, but visitors can enjoy hiking and backpacking adventures in designated areas. To secure permits for hiking and backpacking in the eastern part of the Reservoir, it is recommended to contact the area’s biologist at least two weeks in advance of your arrival. On the area’s west side, a hiking trail and boat ramp are open to the public. Visitors utilizing the west side must possess a valid Oklahoma Fishing License, Oklahoma Hunting License, or an Annual Wildlife Conservation Passport.

The McCurtain County Wilderness Area beckons nature enthusiasts, hunters, and anglers alike, offering a rare opportunity to immerse oneself in the untouched beauty of Oklahoma’s natural landscapes. From the awe-inspiring virgin forests to the abundant wildlife that calls this area home, MCWA provides an unforgettable escape into the heart of the wilderness.

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June 2024

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