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State of Misconception

“I am standing here in the middle of this field, and all I see is this grass, and sky, and it is effortless to breath.” – Source Unknown

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Hiking ranch land in the Sandhills of Cherry County, NE.

There is still a classic case of misrepresentation, rather a state of misconception happening with regard to the great state of Nebraska where I live. Just ask my new neighbors in Dundee Omaha! This blog post is for them and you to get an idea of just how Nebraska is such a state of diverse, exquisite beauty and wide-open spaces!

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Middle Loup River Mullen, NE.

From east to west, I am and always will be a huge fan of the Husker State! And, rightfully so. I am a lifelong Nebraskan with roots that stem to Irish-German prairie pioneer immigrants. My great-great-great-great grandfather was a Union Army Veteran of the Civil War who settled in Nebraska when it was a territory. In fact, our 150 year-old southeastern Nebraska farm he established remains in the family today along with its restored native grassland acres!

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Grassland habitat on Wagner family farm in rural Sarpy County, NE.

I love it here, I really do! In all seriousness, I could not imagine living anywhere else. The vast array of natural resources, communities, people, seasons, sunrises, sunsets, and even the ever-changing weather conditions are what I genuinely enjoy and treasure.

Thunderstorm approacing a Johnson County farm. Photo courtesy of Jack L. Nelson, Omaha, NE.
Thunderstorm approaching a Johnson County farm. Photo courtesy of Jack L. Nelson, Omaha, NE.
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The Les and Larry Dyer family on their farm near Waterloo, NE.

I am always quick to defend Nebraska which some label as “flat, boring farmland laced with telephone poles” or the “snooze state” or “the flyover state.” One of the major misconceptions lies in what Nebraska possesses for scenery, travel and outdoor recreation. The trouble is folks need to get off the main drags and onto the gravel, sand and one-lane black top roads to really explore what the state has to offer.

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North-central Nebraska Sandhills road. Photo courtesy of Ralph Wall/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

This state has so many beautiful natural places. As well-traveled as I am, it seems I discover new ones each year.

Trout fishing the Upper Snake River in Cherry County, NE.
Trout fishing the Upper Snake River in Cherry County, NE.

The variety of wildlife is sure cool to see in our state parks.

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Wild turkey and white-tailed deer at Mahoney State Park near Ashland, NE.
Bison at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, NE. Photo courtesy of Mike Freel, Omaha, NE.
Bison at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford, NE. Photo courtesy of Mike Freel, Omaha, NE.

The array of fish to catch in Nebraska is also a lure for me (like the pun?). Did you know Nebraska has year-round, spring-fed, clear, cold water trout streams in the northwestern region’s Pine Ridge area with public access for fishing?

Daniel Bauer of Lincoln, NE poses with a brown trout he caught in a northwestern Nebraska Pine Ridge stream. Photo courtesy of Daryl Bauer/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Daniel Bauer of Lincoln, NE poses with a brown trout he caught in a northwestern Nebraska Pine Ridge stream. Photo courtesy of Daryl Bauer/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Brown trout swimming in Nebraska Pine Ridge stream. Photo courtesy of Daryl Bauer/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Brown trout swimming in Nebraska Pine Ridge stream. Photo courtesy of Daryl Bauer/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

If you know me, you know I am passionate about rivers, especially our Nebraska rivers/water trails. There’s enjoying a leisurely summer float trip on one of Nebraska’s 24,000 miles of rivers, streams and canals.

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Kayaking the Platte River near Platte River State Park in Cass County, NE.

Too many people continue to think Nebraska is just flat land with nothing going for it whatsoever. So, let’s travel back to northwestern Nebraska’s Pine Ridge area. Ever been there?

Pine ridge area of northwestern Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Jeff Rawlinson/Nebraska game and Parks Commission.
Pine Ridge area of northwestern Nebraska. Photo courtesy of Jeff Rawlinson/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Or, better yet, watch the short video below and I believe it will completely convince you that Nebraska has such variance and beauty. I encourage you and your family to Visit Nebraska. Visit Nice. Enjoy the good life we have ‘outdoors’ this summer! It will be time well spent!

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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