My Favorite Okie Books

...As in, my favorite books on Oklahoma, not my favorite books by Oklahomans. But who's to say the two can't share some list items?

I began to acquire books on Oklahoma biology in my teens.  Most of those books I acquired due to schooling. I've only recently picked up the torch and again returned to collecting books on Oklahoma, but this time it is more fun because I have no classes to apply the books to. I can buy whatever I want. There are many more out there that I hope to later add to my collection so this list is not conclusive.

New Favorites

Oklahoma Hiking Trails by Kent Frates and Larry Floyd's - Gives good descriptions on many trails, listed by geographic area, with estimates on difficulty and length of time to hike them. My absolute favorite part about this book is that it shows each hike mapped out on a topographic map.

Oklahoma Off the Beaten Path by Deborah Bouziden - Although this book talks small towns and big ones alike, I use this one sort of like a travel guide to the small towns. It gives you some interesting things to see and good places to eat for a smattering of the less-touristed areas of the state; I find this particularly helpful to skim through before road trips. However, if you want one of these, get the latest edition, as  I have the 2007 print and some of the businesses have since closed.

Oklahoma Travel Guide from the tourism department - I know, right? This should be a 'duh' but it includes some handy things. I often use the spiffy chart of state parks that shows what is at each park; this alone led to us choosing Lake Murray for last year's camping trip, as they were on the chart as allowing full access for dogs!

I'm going to admit right here that I'm a sucker for maps, but also tell you with delight that the state government makes some pretty fantastic atlases. The two that I own are:

 Lakes of Oklahoma by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board - has lovely big color maps of all watersheds and lakes in the state along with interesting facts about each lake. Even more exciting (if you are me) is that some of the maps show the lake depths.

Oklahoma Wildlife Management Area Atlas byt the Wildlife Department - my newest acquisition. 

And while we're on the subject, this is not an atlas, but EPA's "Ecoregions of Oklahoma" map is excellent.

Old Favorites
After ecology, my favorite study area in school was taxonomy, so this should explain the following selections.

Forest Tress of Oklahoma, by the Oklahoma Forestry Department - this book has what is probably the simplest, easiest-to-use dichotomous keys I have ever had the pleasure to work with. I can usually get to identify my tree correctly quickly and on the first try, and the descriptions of the species are so succinct and the images that go with them so accurate that I am confident I'd know if I made a wrong ID.

Keys to the Flora of Oklahoma by UT Waterfall - on the flip side, this key is *not* easy to use, and I usually make at least one wrong ID going through it (I am a hobby botanist at best). The last time I tried to use it, I would have needed a dissecting microscope (which I do not own) to properly use the key. However, this is the most comprehensive key to Oklahoma's non-woody plants that I know of.

A Guide to the Study of Fresh-Water Biology- by JG Needham -  Not Oklahoma specific, but doesn't need to be; I have used this book a lot, and successfully, in Oklahoma streams.

So that's it, selections and favorites from my Oklahoma book collection, which I love to add to. (I did not even get into my wish list!)  Do you have favorites to add?

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