Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands
Tom Smeltzer, District Ranger
District Address: 18555 Hwy 47A Suite B; Cheyenne, OK 73628
The Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands are administered for the United States Department of Agriculture by the Cibola National Forest and Grasslands. The Black Kettle National Grassland contains 31,300 acres with 30,724 acres located near Cheyenne, Oklahoma, and the remaining 576 acres located near Canadian, Texas and comprising the Lake Marvin Recreation Area. The McClellan Creek National Grassland contains 1,449 acres near Pampa, Texas, and includes the Lake McClellan Recreation Area.
The tracts that make up these National Grasslands were acquired by the United States Department of Agriculture in the late 1930s. In the 1950s, the authority for managing these lands was transferred from the Soil Conservation Service to the Forest Service. On June 23, 1960, the National Grasslands were officially designated.
There are five developed recreation areas, including: Lake McClellan and Lake Marvin (Texas),and Skipout Lake, Spring Creek Lake and Black Kettle Recreation Area (Oklahoma). All are open year-round and offer camping, picnicking, fishing and wildlife viewing. Most areas having hiking trails are available at most areas. RV hook-ups are available at Lake McClellan and Lake Marvin. More information relating to recreational activities can be found at: http://www.wildlifedepartment.com
Grazing on the grasslands provides the local ranchers with valuable feed for their cattle.When visiting the grasslands, you'll see cattle grazing and windmills pumping water for drinking, cross fences and livestock ponds. Approximately 60 permittees graze their cattle on the Black Kettle National Grassland.
Oil and Gas wells are found on both the Black Kettle and McClellan Creek National Grasslands. These grasslands lie within the western limits of the Anadarko Basin, a prolific oil and gas-producing region. Well drilling began in the 1950s on the Texas side and in the 1960s on the Oklahoma side of the grasslands. The oil wells will have pump jacks pumping the oil out of the ground into storage tanks. Gas wells have wellheads, which pipe the gas to separators and compressors. This gas ends up in collector pipelines, which crisscross the grasslands underground. Drilling continues on the Grassland in Oklahoma and occasionally drill rigs are seen.
The Black Kettle Interpretive Trail provides a glimpse of what life was like on the grasslands. The trail is located at the Black Kettle District Office, which is co-located with the National Park Service’s Washita Battlefield National Historic Site. Visitors will see a working windmill; examples of local plants and trees; and a small-scale earthen home. And for a bit of trivia…Did you know that scenes from the movie, “The Grapes of Wrath,” was filmed in Sayre, Oklahoma just miles away from the Black Kettle’s district office.