An additional 3,270 acres in the Ouachita Mountains in LeFlore County near the Arkansas border will be open for public hunting and fishing in the near future.
At its monthly meeting Monday, the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission approved an agreement with the Nature Conservancy and the U.S. Forest Service which will allow public hunting and fishing on the Cucumber Creek Nature Preserve.
The area will be walk-in only but open in all statewide hunting seasons. The date the new area officially will open for fishing and hunting has not been set.
According to the Nature Conservancy’s Web site, the Cucumber Creek Nature Preserve was created in 1989 to benefit neotropical migrant birds.
The birds nest in the summer in large blocks of continuous forest in North America and migrate long distances to Central and South America to spend the winter. Thirty-three species of birds, more than half of them neotropical migrants, nest on the preserve.
Though birds are the focus of the preserve, other animal species found there include black bears, zebra swallowtails, white-tailed deer, timber rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths.
Cucumber Creek is a clear, high-gradient stream flanked to the north by Kiamichi Mountain and to the south by Blue Bouncer Mountain. Lynn Mountain divides Cucumber Creek from the Beech Creek National Scenic Recreation Area, part of the Ouachita National Forest.
The creek is named for the Cucumber magnolia, a small tree native to Eastern forests whose range barely extends into Oklahoma in the Ouachitas.