Farmers Exchange Bank Cherokee Main Street

Great Salt Plains

category : Natural Attractions
Great Salt Plains In 1811, Sans Orelle, an Osage Indian, with others of his tribe, guided Major George C. Sibley, Indian Agent from Fort Osage, Missouri, and his party to Salt Plains. They are thought to have been the first white men to see the Plains, which Major Sibley called the Grand Saline. The Salt Fork of the Arkansas River, flowing around the plain, was known to the Osages as Nescatunga (big salt water). Another early day explorer to see the Plains was Capt. Nathan Boone, who headed a Government expedition from Fort Gibson into what is now central Kansas in 1843.

The Great Salt Plains have been the scene of many Indian Councils, both of war and peace. In drafting the treaty which defined the territory to become the so-called permanent home of the Cherokees in 1828, the United States Government withheld the Salt Plains area with the provision that, "The right is reserved to the United States to allow other tribes of red men to get salt on the Great Salt Plains in common with the Cherokee Tribe." The value of the Plains lay not in its salt alone, but in the rich hunting afforded by the animals migrating there for the salt supply, and possession of this area is said to have been the cause of may Indian battles. In the earliest of the settlement of the Indian Territory, Western Kansas and Texas cattlemen sent wagons to the Plains to haul away great loads of salt.

Today the Great Salt Plains is a National Wildlife Refuge and a State Park available to the public for outdoor sport and ecological study and observation.

Come visit us in Cherokee, Oklahoma

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Artesian Well

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. In 2003

Cherokee, OK Natural Attractions

Centennial Wall

The Cherokee Strip Centennial Wall is inlaid with bricks etched with names commemorating the first homesteaders and pioneers who settled this area during the 1893 Land Run and contributed to the growth of our city.

Cherokee, OK Memorials

Alfalfa County Courthouse and War Memorial

The Alfalfa County Courthouse was built in 1921

Cherokee, OK Historic Courthouses

Salt Flats and Selenite Crystals

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.

Cherokee, OK Natural Attractions

Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge

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 (

Cherokee, OK Wildlife Refuges

Things to do Natural Attractions near Cherokee, OK