Friday, December 21, 2007

Government Conspiracy?

For years now I have read on the forums how there is a giant conspiracy placing treasure sites under government control. This being done by turning the cache sites into national forests, refuges, parks, or whatever else can be thought of. Included in this list is the area in which I live, the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge. Rumors of these old rugged mountains being the hiding place of Spanish and outlaw fortunes have persisted even to this day. Did the government turn this area into a refuge to keep control of these riches? With just a little research you will find out that this is not the case.

The truth is not as exciting as what the conspiracy theorist would have you believe. This area was part of the Kiowa/Comanche reservation and slotted to be opened for settlement by the Jerome Agreement which was ratified in June of 1900. Texas ranchers were able to delay the opening of the land for settlement. It was during this time that an organized effort was made by the Oklahoma City Commercial Club to set aside the mountainous regions of the Kiowa/Comanche land as a national park. It took huge amounts of lobbying on the part of the citizens of the twin territories (Oklahoma wasn't a state at the time) to convince the government to preserve this special area. On July 4, 1901, 57,120 acres were set aside as the Wichita Forest Preserve by President McKinley. In 1905 President Roosevelt issued a proclamation establishing the Wichitas as a National Game Preserve.

If you would like to read the full story of how the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge came into being, the Great Plains Journal Vol. 13, No. 1 has the full account. If it weren't for concerned citizens, this area would have been opened for settlement and possibly would have prevented the bison and longhorn cattle from returning from the brink of extinction. There was no conspiracy here, just good fortune.

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