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The J.T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve is the largest privately protected conservation area in the Ozarks thanks to a land gift from the John Nickel family in 2000. This 17,000-acre landscape rests in eastern Oklahoma’s Cookson Hills and overlooks the Illinois River.
Elk had been absent in this area for more than 150 years. In 2005, an elk herd was reintroduced to the preserve that has grown and flourished in establishing a healthy population in the region.
The preserve also has three self-guided nature trails.