J.T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve

NE of town
Tahlequah, OK 74464

J.T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve

NE of town
Tahlequah, OK 74464

The J.T. Nickel Family Nature & Wildlife Preserve in Tahlequah is the largest privately protected conservation area in the Ozarks. Adjoining the Illinois River in eastern Oklahoma, the preserve is unique for its extensive, high quality rocky glade communities and pristine water quality. Spring-fed creeks meander amid a rugged topography of steep slopes and narrow valleys harboring a mosaic of oak-hickory forest, lofty pine woodland and a diverse mix of savanna, shrub land and prairie.

Uncommon breeding bird species find an optimal habitat here, including some whose survival requires large blocks of intact habitat. The Nature Conservancy has introduced elk, which have been absent from the Ozarks for over 150 years. White-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats and many small mammals are also common on the preserve. Black bears, after being absent from the Ozarks for over a century, also now make their home on the preserve.

Visitors can find self-guided trail information at the preserve headquarters. Three nature trails are open to the public during daylight hours every day. Access to other areas of the preserve may be arranged by appointment with the preserve manager. There are no facilities other than the headquarters building, open on weekdays.

Please observe the following guidelines when visiting:

  - Stay on the trail. Don't collect plants, insects or other species or disturb soil, rocks, artifacts or scientific research markers.

  - No dogs. Preserves harbor ground-nesting birds and other wildlife that are extremely sensitive to disturbance.

  - No bicycles or motorized vehicles. Native plants and research sites are easily trampled.

  - No hunting, fishing, camping or campfires.

  - Please do not leave behind trash. Bring a bag and carry it out.




Sunday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Monday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tuesday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wednesday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Friday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Open from dawn until dusk.
The headquarters building is open during regular business hours on weekdays.
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