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Places We Protect

Four Canyon Preserve

Oklahoma

Rolling hills of Four Canyon Preserve
Four Canyon Four Canyon Preserve © David Jennings

The Four Canyon Preserve encompasses 4,000 acres along the Canadian River.

Overview

Description

The Four Canyon Preserve encompasses 4,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie, rugged canyons and floodplain along the Canadian River in southern Ellis County. Scenic prairie ridges traverse the landscape, dissected by deep chinquapin oak-lined canyons draining into the river.

These prairies provide habitat for a number of rare grassland birds such as Cassin's sparrow and Swainson's hawk, and other species of concern including reptiles like the Texas horned lizard and most notably, the imperiled lesser prairie chicken. The cool, wooded canyons stand in contrast to the surrounding prairies and provide habitat for migratory birds like the red-bellied woodpecker and painted bunting.

The Canadian River provides habitat for the federally endangered least-tern, the threatened Arkansas River shiner and serves as a stopover point for migratory shorebirds like the sandhill crane.

Access

CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

Access is limited during events.

Location

Ellis County, OK

Map with marker: Access is limited to events.

Highlights

Canadian River, Texas horned lizard, Red-bellied woodpecker, Sandhill cranes, rugged canyons, mixed-grass prairie

Size

4,050 acres

Explore our work in Oklahoma

Photos from Four Canyon Preserve

Discover the unique species and plunging canyons of this unique preserve in western Oklahoma.

Texas horned lizard
Women at the top of a canyon overlooking the Canadian River
Juvenile collared lizard
Hikers traversing over the canyon.
Sandhill crane eating.
Red bellied woodpecker
Lesser prairie chicken
Rolling hills at the Four Canyon Preserve
Interior least tern
Hikers climbing up and out of the canyon.
Man wearing cowboy hat with cows on ranch.
Paul Seeley at his ranch in western Oklahoma. © Katie Hawk/TNC

Conservation Easements

Paul and Jackie Seeley of western Oklahoma conserved more than 1,700 acres of their family ranch through the USDA-NRCS Agricultural Conservation Easement Program in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. This easement will keep the property intact as a working ranch free from development in an effort to conserve remaining grasslands and protect wildlife that rely upon these unique ecosystems.

Read more about conservation easements in western Oklahoma.

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Water Returns to the Canadian River Like most rivers in the Great Plains, the Canadian River is seasonal. Back in 2013, Preserve Director Chris Hise caught a rare moment as an upstream rain event sends water downriver and releases air trapped in the sand.
Map of Oklahoma preserves in OK360 virtual tour
OK360 Take a virtual field trip to Oklahoma's 5 flagship preserves. © TNC

Immerse Yourself in Nature

Take a virtual field trip and experience breathtaking 360° panoramas of Oklahoma’s native and diverse landscapes. Great for classrooms and living rooms alike to learn about the unique Four Canyon Preserve in western Oklahoma and all its plants, animals, and special ecology through this engaging multi-media.

Take a Virtual Field Trip

Find More Places We Protect

The Nature Conservancy owns nearly 1,500 preserves covering more than 2.5 million acres across all 50 states. These lands protect wildlife and natural systems, serve as living laboratories for innovative science and connect people to the natural world.

See the Complete Map

Support Prairie Conservation in Oklahoma

Show your Okie pride by sporting a speciality license plate on your car or make a donation to continue conservation efforts across the prairie.