This ancient crosstimbers forest has survived ice, fire and drought where post oak and redcedar trees have aged from 300 to 500 years old making this forested area older than the United States itself. The crosstimbers ecosystem originally covered 30,000 square miles, stretching from Texas through Oklahoma and into Kansas, as European explorers made their way west.
The crosstimbers earned its name from settlers who found much of the thick forests impassable. Author Washington Irving passed through in 1832 and wrote of the "vexations of flesh and spirit" that set upon the travelers who he said felt as if they were "struggling through forests of cast iron."
Fortunately, the thick canopy and craggy terrain has prevented developers from fragmenting this ancient habitat for industry, grazing or agriculture. No cotton farmers cleared these rocky hills nor did woodmill workers harvest trees for chip piles and even wildfires couldn't swarm the bluffs.
That makes these 1,200 acres especially unique as around 80 percent of the ancient forests elsewhere over the crosstimbers range in Oklahoma has been cut away or otherwise transformed.