Nature Lovers, Pet Lovers Spend New Year's Day Hiking In Sand Springs

Thursday, January 1st 2015, 10:58 pm
By: Tess Maune

The Keystone Ancient Forest – some call it a Green Country treasure - is home to some of Oklahoma's oldest oaks and cedars.

Hikers and sightseers take to the trails many weekends throughout the year, but never with their dogs. New Year's Day, however, was an exception and dog and nature lovers ushered in the New Year with an ancient walk.

“It's basically what a forest would look like if development had not taken place,” said Keystone Ancient Forest Tour Guide, Jana Grafing.

At Keystone Ancient Forest, there's a chance to see a little bit of everything.

“There are turkey, deer, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, eagles, armadillos,” said tour guide, John Grafing.

What you won't see roaming the trails on a normal day are dogs; typically pets aren't allowed.

The Grafings said they spook the wildlife, which defeats the purpose of the preserve.

“They can take away from the experience of nature for people,” Jana said.

New Year's Day was different as the preserve hosted its first ever Hike with your Dog event.

So nature lovers who love their dogs, like Sue Poplin and Donna Mayotte, could enjoy both.

“I'm an outdoor person, I love the nature,” Poplin said.

“It's just absolutely magical up here. You just see things that you never would have imagined possible in Oklahoma and particularly to go with a tour guide, who can point things out to you.”

Even the freezing temperatures couldn't take away from the beauty.

“She loves to stay outside. You cannot get her to come in the house,” Poplin said of her dog dressed appropriately for the frigid weather in her hoodie.

The Ancient Forest will be sticking to its no pet policy, but said the event went so well, another dog day may be held later in the year.