Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is located on the Texas side of the Red River and on the Big Mineral part of Lake Texoma (a lake shared by Texas and Oklahoma). Of the nearly 12,000 acres that make up the refuge, about 8,700 acres are uplands and the remaining 2,600 acres are wetlands. The refuge has been providing a variety of habitats for birds and wildlife since it was established in 1946. (Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge)
We enjoyed our visit and plan to go back from time to time. It will be interesting to see what other birds and wildlife we will see. If you’re in the area, Hagerman WIldlife Refuge is definitely worth the time for a visit.
I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’ve never visited a wildlife refuge that didn’t charge to visit. We were pleasantly surprised at the beauty of the area and how well maintained it was.
” The establishment purpose of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is to
provide and manage habitat for migratory birds, wildlife, and plants native to
this area, and to provide opportunity for outdoor recreation that is compatible.
The refuge offers wildlife-dependent recreational opportunities, including
wildlife observation and photography, fishing, hunting, and hiking, and
educational programs.” (Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge)
We traveled the Wildlife Trail – a well maintained 4 mile dirt road that led a one way only drive around the marshes. It brought us close enough to see several different types of waterfowl and allowed for some great photo ops.
We were surprised to see oil wells throughout the refuge. Read below for the story of the oil wells from the Hagerman Wildlife Refuge website.
Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is an overlay of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) lands at Lake Texoma. When the Corps purchased the lands for the lake in the late 1930s, they did not purchase the mineral rights under those lands. Instead, the rights were (and continue to be) held in private ownership by many different individuals, families, and corporations.
The refuge was established in 1946. In 1951, oil and gas resources were discovered under refuge lands and that same year structures, including oil pad access roads, pump jacks, tanks, and flowlines, were installed to allow for mineral extraction and transport. Under federal and state law, mineral owners have a legal right to access and extract their minerals. Refuge officials understand and respect these rights and work closely with production companies to try and minimize impacts to refuge habitat and wildlife. An oil and gas specialist stationed at the refuge supervises all permitting requests related to oil and gas activities within the refuge.
Neither the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nor the Corps benefit financially from these activities. (The information above is a direct quote from the website. Hagerman Wildlife Refuge)