Pailes said it also is important for people to keep dogs on leashes to protect local wildlife.
Plentiful freshwater mussels in Sutton Lake serve as food for raccoons and muskrats, according to Bill Ulch, Norman parks superintendent.
“There are all kinds of water fowl there and we have deer, a couple of road runners and cotton tail rabbits,” Ulch said. “It’s a large bird habitat. George M. Sutton identified over a hundred species of birds there.”
Families often enjoy fishing in Sutton Lake.
“There’s bass in there, black bass, channel cat, perch, sunfish and bluegill,” Ulch said. “The wildlife department restocks it for us from time to time.”
When visiting the wilderness park, it is important to preserve the natural beauty of the habitat. Ulch said visitors should not remove plants or rocks and should avoid littering.
“We want to keep it clean,” Ulch said. “Please carry your trash out with you when you leave.”
Flora and fauna abound and serve as inspiration for artists and writers. Bird watchers or amateur naturalists hoping to identify wildflowers and other native species of plants will find plenty to study.
“We have cleared a lot of cedars in that area and are reclaiming our prairie,” Ulch said. “Those are native cedars out there, but they were taking over.”
Through the years, Norman’s scout troops have enjoyed visiting the park and often schedule days to pick up trash. Located next to the Frisbee golf course, dog park and near Griffin Park and its soccer fields, the Sutton Wilderness is in a family friendly area familiar to many Norman residents.