What a difference a week makes! This week finds almost all of Oklahoma OUT of their Fire Bans. Only Cimarron County in extreme northwestern Oklahoma is still in a County Declared Fire Ban until Nov. 1.
The lifting of the Fire Ban coincided with the first significant cold snap and campers at Quartz Mountain Nature Park welcomed the opportunity to enjoy a campfire. The cooler nights and brisk mornings just seem to be made for campfires.
The cooler nights and shorter days signal that winter is on its steady march. The falling acorns are being eaten nearly as fast as they fall. Cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers and wild turkeys all relish acorns- so to do the whitetail deer.
If you like to wildlife watch now is the time to come to Quartz Mountain Nature Park. Not only are the acorns falling, the tree leaves are also staring to fall. With less leaves it is much easier to see all the animals feasting on the fall bounty.
Many people like to watch the deer feed. With the change in weather the rut (mating season) will be under way. Please do NOT try to hand feed the deer at this time. The deer become unpredictable during the rut and some one could be hurt. If you have been feeding the deer and they have been coming quite close, now is the time to distance yourself.
Archery season for deer is also under way. Hunting is not allowed on park property. However, it is occurring on nearby private property. The hiking trails that are too close to private property are closed. This includes: Rock Creek Canyon and Sunrise Trails near the Lodge and Blackjack Pass Trail near the Cedar Valley trails complex. These trails will reopen for hiking after the hunting seasons close.
There are still plenty of hiking opportunities at Quartz Mountain. In the Main Park the New Horizon and Wichita Interpretive trails are open. In the Lodge area the Cave Trail, Twin Peaks Trail and Mountain Pass Trail are all open. While Cedar Valley trails complex has these trails open: Cedar Valley, Cedar Creek, Mesquite Forest and Baldy Point.