A few miles north of Oklahoma City’s skyline and bustling downtown is the Martin Nature Park Center —
a 140-acre area designed to immerse visitors in a wooded escape from urban sprawl. With hiking trails
and opportunities to view wildlife in their natural habitat, Martin Nature Park is a popular attraction,
thanks in part to the ADA Accessible INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Courage Trail, a playground,
and a picnic pavilion, so that this special spot is more than just a peaceful walk through the woods.
The most common animal spotted along the paths of Martin Nature Park are deer, which are typically a
favorite sight for those who come to visit. However, because of the park’s location, these deer are more
prone to dangerous situations when left unregulated once they pass the borders of the conservatory.
Countless deer have been injured due to passing cars, fences, and urban life.
This issue has become more severe due to the pandemic, in which educational parks like the center
have suffered immensely in terms of funding. With a decreased budget, a short staff, and existing staff all
subject to the stressors of last year, OKC’s beloved nature conservatory is unable to properly reinforce
the habitat of deer and other wildlife within the park. On top of this, the harshness of past winter storms
has caused severe damage to the environment of the Martin Nature Park Center. As a popular location
nestled in the heart of OKC, this park provides a sanctuary for nature and wildlife lovers alike.
The Friends of Martin Park Nature Center is an organization that is capable of helping combat many of
these issues. The organization is dedicated to “maintaining Martin Park as an unspoiled natural tract of
land and preventing uses and development from endangering its goal as a Nature Center.” The
institution relies on volunteers to create funding “to help support flora, fauna, and special events for the
public … through educational events and outreach programs.”
With the new challenges that await OKC’s wildlife, Friends of Martin Park Nature Center is working to
“provide physical assistance to the Director of Martin Park in programs of Education, Natural Habitat
Improvement, and General Maintenance.” Without organizations like these, the wildlife, educational
programs and specialized trails of the Martin Nature Park Center would no longer be available. For
information on how to get involved, visit https://www.friendsofmartinpark.org.