East Texas is a distinct cultural, geographic and ecological area in the U.S. state of Texas. According to the Handbook of Texas, the East Texas area “may be separated from the rest of Texas roughly by a line extending from the Red River in north central Lamar County southwestward to east central Limestone County and then southeastward towards eastern Galveston Bay”, though some separate the Gulf Coast area into a separate region. Another popular, somewhat simpler, definition defines East Texas as the region between the Trinity River (or sometimes Interstate 45, when defining generously) as the western border, the Louisiana border as the eastern border, the Oklahoma border as the northern border, and Galveston Bay shores as the southern border. Most of the region consists of the Piney Woods ecoregion, and East Texas can sometimes be reduced to include only the Piney Woods. Houston is rarely regarded as a part of East Texas and is more closely associated with the Coastal Bend along the Gulf of Mexico, as has been the case for most of the city’s recent history. At the fringes, towards Central Texas, the forests expand outward toward sparser trees and eventually into open plains.