Back to Nature: Arkansas City's Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area

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Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area in Arkansas City.
Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area in Arkansas City.

This month, we’re featuring great locations to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of The Natural State. A great option is the Freddie Black Choctaw Island Wildlife Management Area in Arkansas City. At over 7,500 acres, the wildlife management area, comprised largely of bottomland hardwood forest, is an attraction and habitat for wildlife. The WMA features over nine miles of nature trails and opportunities for bird watching and wildlife viewing. Choctaw Island is also recognized by the Audubon Society as an “Important Birding Area.”

You never know what you may see at Choctaw Island!
You never know what you may see at Choctaw Island!

Choctaw Island is not only a wildlife management area, but also a deer research area, and it covers 7,580 acres. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission manages this public land within the levees of the Mississippi River, one of the largest watersheds in the world. The river and its wetlands support more than 400 species of wildlife, including 40 percent of North America’s migratory waterfowl. Choctaw Island includes some of the most ecologically significant and productive habitat in the state. This is a prime area for hunting, fishing and wildlife watching. It’s managed for trophy white-tailed deer and provides habitat for the endangered least tern.

Choctaw Island is an attraction and habitat for wildlife.
Choctaw Island is an attraction and habitat for wildlife.

There are four primitive camp sites on Choctaw Island and four trails: the Levee Trail (3.4 miles), the Mississippi River Trail (2.8 miles), Rocky Hole Trail (1.5 miles) and the Old River Lake Trail (1.7 miles). The trails offer visitors the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife and birds and maybe even an alligator.

An alligator enjoys the swamp life at Choctaw Island WMA in Arkansas City.
An alligator enjoys the swamp life at Choctaw Island WMA in Arkansas City.