Natural Resource Condition Assessments for Chickasaw National Recreation Area

The Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program provides framework, funding, and publishing support to parks to aid in the synthesis and documentation of natural resource conditions. Condition assessment reports are a tool to describe selected park resources, and record a snapshot of their current condition, identify trends, and identify potential or current threats and stressors. Understanding the condition and trend of natural resources is key for parks and NPS planners to appropriately prioritize and allocate stewardship resources.

Visitors in picnic area near a rocky dam.
Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Photo by NPS/Victoria Stauffenburg.

Chickasaw National Recreation Area was established to protect the unique natural resources, preserve areas of cultural interest, provide outdoor recreation opportunities, protect scenic, scientific, natural, and historic values, and to memorialize the Chickasaw Indian Nation. The unique freshwater and mineral springs for which Chickasaw is well known were first protected as Sulphur Springs Reservation in 1902 through the efforts of the Chickasaw and Choctaw Native American tribal units, who recognized threats to these unique resources. The National Recreation Area is situated in south-central Oklahoma between Dallas, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Chickasaw lies in a transition zone where the Eastern deciduous forest and the Western prairies meet. It has flora and fauna from both environments, flora and fauna specific to such transition areas. Oak trees, yucca, sycamores, and prickly pear cactus all grow side by side in many areas of the park. Trails such as Veterans Lake, especially beautiful at sunset, illustrate this transition.

Traditional NRCA Report: 2016

In an effort to better understand the natural resources and processes present in Chickasaw National Recreation Area, a Natural Resource Condition Assessment was written and published in 2016. This assessment was undertaken by National Park Service representatives, including the National Recreation Area staff and management. This team chose thirteen resource topics to evaluate:

- Viewshed

- Night sky

- Soundscape

- Air quality

- Geology

- Surface water quality

- Groundwater and springs

- Riparian habitat

- Grasslands

- Invasive plants

- Breeding landbirds

- Feral mammals: cats and hogs

- Game species

The assessment showed that natural resource conditions within the Recreation Area varied. Three resources (riparian habitats, grasslands, and breeding landbirds) were given a good condition rating; five resources (viewshed, night sky, soundscape, geology, and surface water quality) were given a condition rating of moderate concern; feral mammals’ condition was moderate to significant concern; three other resources (air quality, groundwater and springs, and exotic plants) were given a condition rating of significant concern; and game species was not given a condition rating due to lack of data. Managing the natural resources within Chickasaw National Recreation Area is inextricably tied to its purpose and significance. This assessment allows natural resource managers to consider potential actions and alternatives when addressing resource issues or needs.

For other reports and natural resource datasets visit the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Collection 7765 (results presented are a subset). To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Last updated: June 28, 2022


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