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eric fowler

Nebraskaland Regional Editor Eric Fowler was born in Hastings, graduated from Ogallala High School in 1988 and completed his Bachelor’s at Chadron State College in 1993. After six years as a writer and photographer with newspapers in Chadron and Scottsbluff, he joined the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in 1998 as Publications Editor and has been a member of the NEBRASKAland staff since 2001. Fowler spends as much time as he can in Outdoor Nebraska. When he’s not photographing wildlife, landscapes or people enjoying the state’s outdoor resources for the magazine, he’s enjoying them himself while hunting, fishing, boating, kayaking, hiking or camping with family, including his wife and son, and friends.

Wildlife Habitat from the Bottom Up

Billy Chromy is a big picture kind of guy when it comes to wildlife habitat. That likely comes from his background, which includes growing up on his family’s farm in the hills near Linwood, and working as a conservation technician, game warden and park ranger before returning home, where he now farms with his father and is also a contractor who helps landowners implement conservation practices on their land. An avid hunter, Chromy has been managing the woodlands, pasture and …

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Conestoga — A Model Lake

Conestoga Lake is a peaceful retreat. But it’s not as quiet as it used to be. That’s what happens whenever improvements are made to a fishery near Nebraska’s capital city. And the improvements made to Conestoga were many. Located south of Emerald, Conestoga State Recreation Area is one of 11 Salt Valley Lakes built around Lincoln in the 1960s and 1970s by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam on Holmes Creek that created the reservoir was completed in …

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A Rare Bird: Remembering Jon Farrar

Dogged writer and photographer. Accuracy hound. Swearer. Whiskey drinker. That was Jon Farrar. This colorful character of a man, who spent 42 years on the staff of Nebraskaland Magazine, passed away on March 30, 2021, at the age of 73. His closest friends will remember the stories he told, the late-night decoy carving sessions and how he disappeared into the Sandhills each October, primarily to hunt ducks. His body of work, however, including more than 580 articles, several books and …

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Jerky Shooter

The Hardest Part is Deciding Which Flavor to Make Of all the outdoorsman’s food groups, trail mix, sausage and salami are good, but jerky is the best in my book. Packed with protein and low in fat, it’s just enough to get you through a long morning in the deer stand or waterfowl blind. In a pinch, it can even double as a meal. Heart doctors might frown at the amount of salt it contains, but aside from that, it’s …

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A Historic Gathering: Whooping Cranes

My phone almost always rings when whooping cranes show up in the central Platte River valley. A good friend, who simply appreciates seeing the tallest and rarest bird in North America, called in early November. So did another. There weren’t just a few whooping cranes on the river: There were a lot of them. When I had a chance to head west from Lincoln with my camera on Nov. 7, I was rewarded with something that was not just rare, …

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Rose Creek Mausoleum

Tucked away in a sandstone outcropping in Jefferson County is an oddity that will amaze anyone who visits: a rock-cut tomb carved by hand a century ago. Nelson McDowell was reportedly a colorful character. And if you visit the “mausoleum” he carved out of a sandstone cliff overlooking Rose Creek in Jefferson County, and later learn that it may have simply been a hobby to keep him busy and in good health rather than a place he intended to be …

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Start Them Young

When you take children hunting, you better have a checklist. Warm clothes? Check. Warm boots? Check. Snacks? Check. Diaper bag? Excuse me? Baby food? Beg your pardon? Pacifier? Are you nuts? Jesse and Casey Campbell of Grand Island aren’t nuts, but that’s what their packing list has included since they took their son, Harris, hunting for the first time — when he was 2 months old. By the time Harris went on that goose hunt in February 2020, Harris already …

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Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

An Oasis at the Edge of the Sandhills Victoria Springs State Recreation opened in August 1925, an estimated 4,500 people attended the celebration. These days, around 6,000 people visit in an entire year. It’s a quiet little park, which is exactly why those who visit do so. Some folks will say the 60-acre park is in the middle of nowhere. But that isn’t true. It’s only 6 miles off the beaten path of Nebraska Highway 2 if you head west …

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A Parks Timeline

Marking 100 Years When Nebraska became a state in 1867, parks — let alone state parks — weren’t needed. Nebraskans of the day, and for years to come, were building homes, farms, businesses and towns, and with all of that work to be done, there was little time for leisure. But the conservation movement had begun, heightening the nation’s awareness of its pristine natural resources and prompting the launch of efforts to preserve them for future generations. The movement led …

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Sleeping with the Cranes

An Adventure Story I’m often asked about the best place to see the sandhill cranes during their annual spring stopover in Nebraska. My reply: Do you want to see the cranes or experience them? The former requires getting a reservation in a riverside viewing blind, several of which are available in the central Platte River Valley. But if you really want to experience the cranes, I tell them, you need to spend the night with the birds on the river. …

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