Logan Layden

StateImpact Oklahoma - Managing Editor

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma. He is a native of McAlester, Oklahoma and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009. Logan spent three years as a state capitol reporter and local host of All Things Considered for NPR member station KGOU in Norman and six years as a reporter with StateImpact from 2011 to 2017. Most recently, he was news director for McAlester Radio before returning to public radio in 2020.

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Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Nearly a quarter of a million hunters are set to grab their guns and stalk through Oklahoma’s woods when deer gun season opens the week before Thanksgiving, according to Micah Holmes with the state Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“There’s more deer hunters out in the woods on opening day of deer gun season than there is at Lewis Field, at the OU football stadium, and at the Tulsa football stadium combined,” Holmes says.

But last season, the number of deer harvested was down nearly 25 percentcompared to 2011, to only about 88,000. It was the worst deer season since the 1990s.

Years of drought have taken a toll on wildlife populations in Oklahoma, and the people who hunt and fish for them. Less vegetation means less reproduction, fewer fawns, hungrier prey, and withering water holes that harbor disease. Western Oklahoma didn’t get a lot of rain this summer, but Holmes says he’s optimistic about deer season, not because of the amount of rainfall, but the timing of it.

Sonya Song / Flickr

In May of last year, it looked like impoverished areas of eastern Oklahoma would be getting a lifeline. Coal mining, once a vital industry there, appeared to be headed for a comeback thanks to booming international demand.

Local residents were excited about the prospect of hundreds of new jobs when StateImpact first visited Heavener, but the mining project has stalled.

Ouro Mining Company’s massive Heavener Project along the Oklahoma-Arkansas border was supposed to be producing coal — and jobs — by now. In April 2013, locals in Heavener, like waitress Leslea Absire, couldn’t wait.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Walnut Creek State Park closed indefinitely last weekend, the latest in a series of park closures that started in 2011, and a victim of budget priorities and changing attitudes at the department of tourism. StateImpact traveled to the banks of Keystone Lake to visit with some of Walnut Creek’s last campers as a state park, and the people whose livelihoods are now in danger.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine calls it a power grab by an imperial president. U.S. Representative Frank Lucas says it would trigger an onslaught of additional red tape for famers and ranchers in Oklahoma. That kind of hyperbole is expected anytime President Barack Obama’s EPA does, well, anything. But the changes being proposed to the way bodies of water are classified are confusing.

The so-called ‘Waters of the United States’ designation is the federal government’s attempt to define which bodies of water qualify for protection under the Clean Water Act. The EPA is trying to tweak that definition. And it’s got farmers like Mason Bolay worried.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Water supplies in southwest Oklahoma are in danger of drying up as four years of drought drag lake levels to record lows. Some communities are scrambling to supplement their current water sources, while others look for new sources — in Texas.

Estimates say Duncan’s main water source — Lake Waurika — could be too low to use by 2016.


There are more than 78,000 miles of rivers and streams in Oklahoma. But 200 of those miles are unique — Oklahoma’s scenic rivers. They are some of the state’s most environmentally sensitive waterways, and the state grants them special protections.

StateImpact reporters Logan Layden and Joe Wertz spent a month exploring the rivers for a documentary about the rivers' history and the environmental threats they face.

Logan Layden / State Impact Oklahoma

This is part three of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. Part two is available here.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

This is part one of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the threats they face. 

The six eastern Oklahoma waterways classified as scenic rivers are each examples of the pristine beauty of that part of the state. They’re also tourist magnets. Even on a Monday morning, rowdy Tulsans pile into a bus at Diamondhead Resort and rumble toward the nearest access point into the Illinois River.

“If you have a good group of people and enough alcohol you can make anything fun,” one floater tells StateImpact.

Will Goree / "Norman Fracking Forum" Facebook event page

Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," remains a much-talked-about topic in Oklahoma.

Norman Public Library hosts a public forum on the subject tonight at 7:00 p.m. and StateImpact’s Logan Layden will be moderating. He sat down with KOSU’s Nikole Robinson Carroll for this preview of the event.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

State tourism officials are considering closing or transferring four more state parks. The agency, like many, has had its budget cut over the past four years, but the decision to defund state parks is about more than money.

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