Cucumber Creek Preserve, created in 1989, encompasses 3,270 acres to benefit neotropical migrant birds. These birds nest in the summer in large blocks of continuous forest in North America and migrate long distances to Central and South America to spend the winter. Thirty-three species of birds, more than half of them neotropical migrants, nest on the preserve. Additionally, many plants and animals found only in the Ouachita Mountains are protected here.
The creek is a clear, high-gradient stream flanked to the north by Kiamichi Mountain and to the south by Blue Bouncer Mountain. Lynn Mountain divides Cucumber Creek from the Beech Creek National Scenic Recreation Area, part of the Ouachita National Forest.The creek is named for the Cucumber magnolia, a small tree native to Eastern forests whose range barely extends into Oklahoma in the Ouachitas.
Though birds are the focus of this preserve, the biodiversity of the region is impressive. Other animal species include black bears, zebra swallowtails, white-tailed deer, timber rattlesnakes, and cottonmouths. There are at least 39 preserve plants and animals that are found only in the Ouachitas, including the Ouachita Mountain Shiner, a small fish at home in Cucumber Creek.
Due to sensitive habitat and remote location, the preserve is closed to the public. There are similar, nearby areas of the National Forest available for recreation. The Beech Creek National Scenic Recreation Area has a parking area and trail system.