A concrete replica of Oklahoma State Park’s “Park Pal” mascot is catching one of his last Hulah Lake sunsets at Wah-Sha-She State Park.
But the final sunset has not yet come for the Park. The August 15th closing date has been extended to at least October 1st, giving the opportunity for Hulah Lake fans to enjoy a final Labor Day weekend in the nearly sixty-year-old park.
Sunset is followed by the dawning of a new day. Wah-Sha-She State Park is located within the Osage Indian Reservation. The Osage Tribe is currently preparing to take over operation of the park after the holiday.
It may come as a surprise, but “Osage” and “Wah-Sha-She” are the same word, spelled differently.
In 1673, French explorers Marquette and Joliet found a tribe of Native Americans along the Missouri River calling themselves “The Water People.” The pronunciation of their tribe name was “Wazha’ zhe”, or Wah-Sha-She. The Frenchmen wrote this as “Oushagi.” When the English got hold of this French word, it was Anglicized to “Osage.”
Lake Hulah gets its name from the [ghost] town of Hulah. “Hulah” is an Osage word meaning “eagle.” The Corps of Engineers bills Hulah Lake as “The Eagles’ Playground”. Indeed, in winter months you can often find a dozen or so bald eagles ‘playing’ near the dam. With the continuing stretch of 100°F temperatures, those winter days sure seem far away!