The Arbuckle-Simpson Region
Located in southcentral Oklahoma, the Arbuckle-Simpson region is generally defined by the area of granite and limestone surface outcroppings of an ancient underground geologic structure. There are three geologic areas that make up the Arbuckle-Simpson, illustrated below--the Hunton, the Arbuckle, and Tishomingo anticlines.
When you travel I-35 south of Davis, you pass physically through that geology, which is no longer underground but now bounds the highway. At one point, our low-lying Arbuckle Mountains towered thousands of feet above sea level, but they have eroded over the millennia, providing the materials that now make up much of north Texas and the Oklahoma plains. As you drive I-35, note the layering geology of these hills, and bear in mind that you are looking at some of the oldest rock on the planet! That fractured hard rock continues thousands of feet underground, creating the Arbuckle-Simpson 's capacity to store vast quantities of water, and that underground reservoir is critical to this area--our environment, our economy, our ability to live, thrive, and grow here.
In times of normal precipitation, groundwater discharges to the surface through springs and seeps and supports the streams and rivers that characterize our area--such as Pennington Creek, the Blue River, and many more. Turner Falls, a local landmark and attraction, draws thousands of visitors each year to swim, hike, picnic, and enjoy the beautiful landscapes that surround the area. Likewise, at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and the Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge, visitors come each summer to swim and fish its creeks, to bird and observe nature, and to hike and bike its trails.
Largely because of the area's abundance of water, the Chickasaw Nation--when facing forced removal from their aboriginal lands east of the Mississippi--chose this location as the center of its new treaty homeland in the Indian Territory. Upon occupying its post-removal homeland, the Chickasaw Nation established its capitol in Tishomingo, located near the junction of Pennington Creek and the Washita River (and located, conveniently, under the inset in the map at the top of this page!). Today, the Nation's administrative headquarters are in Ada, about 40 miles north of Tishomingo, but each year, thousands of the Nation's citizens return to Tishomingo for the Chickasaw Nation annual meeting and festival. And visitors, year round, can tour the Nation's historic Capitol and Council House Museums. Across the street from the Capitol, visitors can visit the Johnston County Historical Society Museum, which is housed in the Chickasaw Nation's original bank building. The Chickasaw Nation, which remains a vibrant and vital part of the Arbuckle-Simpson area, maintains historic sites throughout the region, most of which are open to the public.
Today, the waters of the Arbuckle-Simpson provide all of the drinking water supplies on which we rely in this area. For example, Tishomingo relies exclusively on Pennington Creek for its drinking water. Likewise, Durant--south and east of the outcrop area--relies on the Blue River, a popular recreation area and trout fishery. Ada--north and east of the outcrop area--gets its water from Byrds Mill Spring, and Sulphur relies on wells bored directly into the aquifer itself. Because of the value and of our waters, the Arbuckle-Simpson is uniquely protected under Oklahoma law and is the subject of ongoing and intensive study by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.
This overview can give you a brief introduction and overview of our region. The website for Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer also includes a beautifully produced video about the aquifer and our region, entitled Arbuckle-Simpson: A Treasure Threatened. Also, you can visit our Photo Gallery section to see shots from around the area and, particularly, our previous festival events. But of course, the best way to learn more is to come and visit us, and the Arbuckle-Simpson Nature Festival provides you a perfect opportunity to do so!
|Last Updated on Thursday, 17 November 2011 17:08|