Salt Plains was established in 1930 "as a refuge and breeding ground for birds." It provides habitat for approximately 300 species of birds and 30 species of mammals. The 32,030 acres is divided into almost equal parts of nonvegetated salt flat, open water, and vegetated land (
An ever-flowing "Artesian well" spring is located northeast of Cherokee, Oklahoma, and provides a cool drink for travelers and a "fill-your-own-container" source of water for many homes of the area.
The salt plains are a unique geological area. Visitors may enjoy viewing the near perfectly flat 11,000-acre barren area with the wafer thin salt crust or dig for the Famous Salt Plains selenite crystals with the hour-glass sand inclusion.