The Making of an Island and the Natural Wildlife of the Ranch
Island Guest Ranch, a division of Island Ranch and Cattle Company, is a working cattle and horse ranch that was established in Oklahoma by the land runs of 1889 and 1893. The land consists of several thousand acres of native grassland in northwest Oklahoma located on what was once an island in the Cimarron River.
Oklahoma was surveyed in 1873 and 1874, the island appeared on the survey plats which were used to establish the open land known as the Cherokee Outlet. The Cherokee Tribe leased 6 million acres of land to the Cherokee Strip Cattlemen’s Association for 20 years prior to the 1893 land run. The Island known now as Island Guest Ranch, became open to settlement in the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893.
In the last century, a railroad was built across the land, with two trestles marking the east and west boundaries of the island. In 1906 a massive flood struck the area and washed out both of these trestles causing the boundaries of the island to shift.
In the ensuing dry dust bowl years, the island became a sort of natural peninsula as Hoyle Creek continued to flow down the eastern side of what was the old Cimarron River Channel. Today, with the aid of aerial photographs of the land, the history of the old island can be witnessed today.
Island Guest Ranch has a varied and unique terrain that contains an abundance of wildlife. As much of our wildlife is rare and endangered, we create manage and maintain habitats for species such as the Whooping Crane, Piping Plover, Arkansas River Shiner, and Interior Least Tern. http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlifemgmt/endangeredspecies.htm.
The ranch is also in the direct flight paths of various types of migrating ducks, geese and other waterfowl. We also ensure we create a good and plentiful habitat for these waterfowl along with deer, turkey, pheasant and quail, which supports our hunting operation. www.islandranchoutfitters.com
Our abundant wildfowl is supported by terrain that contains the Southern Hoyle Creek Watershed. This watershed flows directly through a series of slews and wetlands that were in 1873 the main channel of the Cimarron River. This watershed and the springs therein, dump into the Cimarron River on the Major County Blaine County line and extends north from the county for 6 miles.
These watersheds are the habitats and nesting areas of our many federally protected and endangered water birds. http://www.wildlifedepartment.com/wildlifemgmt/endangeredspecies.htm
These areas also provide a multitude of water birds with habitat suitable nesting areas which can be of a fragile nature.