There is a lot to do in and around Johnston County. There are campgrounds, lakes and rivers for swimming and fishing, trails for hiking and bicycling, nature areas for bird watching and animal viewing. Try visiting the National Wildlife Refuge, the Blue River Recreation Area, Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery, or Pennington Creek Park.
Chickasaw National Capitol
The brick building was torn down in 1891 and the construction of the granite Victorian Gothic capitol was started. Granite was quarried on Pennington Creek. In 1898 the beautiful capitol was completed. It served the Chickasaw Nation as the National Capitol until Oklahoma statehood in November, 1907. The building was then leased to the Johnston County government until 1910, when it was purchased for a courthouse for Johnston County. In 1989, the Chickasaw Nation purchased its historical capitol back from the Johnston County government. Johnston County again leased the building from the Chickasaw Nation until 1993 when a new courthouse was completed.
Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge
The Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge lies at the upper Washita arm of Lake Texoma and is administered for the benefit of migratory waterfowl in the Central Flyway. The refuge offers a variety of aquatic habitats for wildlife. Seasonally flooded flats and willow shallows lying at the Pool's edge also provide excellent wildlife habitat. Upland areas vary from grasslands to wild plum thickets to oak-hickory-elm woodlands. Crops, primarily wheat and corn, are grown on approximately 900 acres to provide forage and grain for waterfowl.
Tishomingo NWR offers wildlife watching, photography, and hiking throughout most of the refuge from March 1 through September 30 and in limited areas during the rest of the year. From October 1 until March 1 the Wildlife Management Unit is closed to all public recreation except limited hunting. Good fishing draws many anglers to Cumberland Pool and the Washita River. Picnickers are welcome and a pavilion is available for group activities.
To get to the refuge from downtown Tishomingo, follow Highway 78 to the eastern edge of town. Turn south on refuge road (watch for sign) at the high school. Follow road 3 miles to headquarters.
Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery
The Tishomingo National Fish Hatchery works with a variety of fishes -- big and little. The primitive looking paddlefish, with its long oar-like snout, is spawned and reared at Tishomingo. Over the last several years, this hatchery has returned the big-river behemoth to miles of water where they have been missing for over 50 years. To get to the hatchery, follow Highway 377/99 north from Tishomingo, then turn west on Highway 7 and follow it for six miles to the hatchery.
Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area
The Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area (PFHA) is located in Southcentral Oklahoma about 11 miles northeast of Tishomingo in Johnston County. The clear spring fed river flows through a unique geologic area formed by the eastern outcrop of the Arbuckle Mountains. The Blue River is one of Oklahoma’s most beautiful and picturesque public recreation spots. The primary objective of the ODWC is to provide quality stream fishing and access during the entire year. This is accomplished by a seasonal trout fishery during the colder months (November 1 through March 31) and supplemental stockings of grow-out channel catfish during the warmer summer months, coupled with fishing for native bass, sunfish, and catfish. Hunting opportunities also are available to the sportsperson seeking deer, dove, turkey, quail, squirrel, racoon and rabbits.
Other Points of Interest
At Pennington Park in Tishomingo is a beautiful veterans' memorial. There are two other veterans' memorials at Murray State College, as well as a memorial dedicated to former governor, "Alfalfa Bill" Murray.