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Green Country


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very summer, fascinated visitors gather on the bleachers of an outdoor arena to watch an excit- ing reenactment of the Wild West. While visiting, many take tours of the 1910 rock mansion placed on top of the hill on the grounds.


At the end of the mansion tour, guests are asked to exit out the back, where they fi nd themselves on a large wrap-around porch with an unexpected and spectacular view of lush green hills as far as the eye can see. This view is from the highest point in the city of Pawnee—the Pawnee Bill Mansion. The view of vibrant green trees and rolling hills from that back porch is what visitors can expect visiting anywhere in the greater Green Country area.


Enjoying the view


“When I worked there, I was always just in awe of the sur- roundings,” said Indian Electric member Bonnie Buchanan, who worked at the museum as a teen. “The area is green and open and wide. It defi nitely gives a feeling of nostalgia. You can imagine what it was like to live in Green Country back in Pawnee Bill’s day.”


Home to Woody Guthrie, Chester Gould and Will Rogers, Green Country covers 18 counties and includes over 70 cities and towns in the northeast part of the state. The area stretches from Pawnee and Osage Counties to the Arkansas border, and goes as far south as Eufaula.


“When you visit Green Country, you see huge rocks and cliffs, green trees, rolling hills and sparkling blue lakes,” Bu- chanan said. “The area is just breathtaking.” Buchanan and her family have taken several road trips through Green Country over the years. Through their travels, they have discovered the joy of taking the back roads. “If you like scenery, take the old roads,” she said. “The for- gotten old state highways are scenic, easy travel, and you get the chance to get off the beaten path.


“But be patient,” she continued with a chuckle. “You may get caught behind a tractor or meet a herd of cattle out on the road.”


Revamped main streets, old homesteads and ghost towns can be found along Green Country’s older highways, giving travelers a feel of the area’s rich history.


“Old Highway 51 from Yale to Tulsa is one of the prettiest drives in the state,” Buchanan said. “There are parts of Route 66 between towns that are really fascinating. Highway 10 in Tahlequah is a great drive that follows the river; and Highway 33 from Drumright is a pretty little drive too.” Visitors and residents alike enjoy Green Country’s land- scape and attractions. From its historic sites and preserved main streets to its caves, hiking trails and lakes, there is some- thing for everyone. Visitors enjoy trips to the area’s casinos, eating at unique restaurants and visiting the museums, as well as camping, rock climbing or waterskiing.


By Emilia Buchanan Lake Tenkiller State Park 34 OKLAHOMA LIVING


“Green Country is beautiful and offers such a variety of exciting activities and attractions,” said Jeanette Swindell, PR consultant for the Green Country Marketing Associa- tion. “There are 16 lakes, expansive waterways, an amazing preserved prairie, rolling hills and forested getaways. There’s culture in some of the nation’s most renowned performance venues. There’s history and opulence in its grand museums and architecture. And there’s a proud respect for those who built the region and exuberance for all the present offers here.” Six of the state’s 10 varied ecoregions can be enjoyed through Green Country, including Caves and Prairie region, Crosstim- bers, Ozark Highlands, Ozark Forest, Hardwood Forest and Tallgrass Prairie. Green Country is divided into three regions categorized by the terrain. The Foothills region is located in the southeast section and includes the hills, lakes and valleys of Tahlequah, Muskogee and surrounding towns; the High


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