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Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

Wildcat Hills Shooting Complex Opening This Weekend

GERING — The newly constructed shooting complex at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area will open Labor Day weekend. The new facility along Nebraska Highway 71 south of Gering will be open Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.  A grand opening will be scheduled at a later date with the dedication of the Wildcat Hills Nature Center, which is being renovated. “We’re looking forward to showing this new complex off to the public and begin serving the region in …

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A Birthday Tribute

Let me apologize for leading this post with a photo captured outside Nebraska. As much as I’d like to claim that image, the credit instead goes to my wife Cricket who was riding shotgun while I was behind the wheel. It tops any elk photo I’ve ever shot and I might be a tad jealous. She did a great job composing the scene, but dare I suggest that a few others deserve credit for that image? We must also step …

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Here’s Your Sign

American dagger moth caterpillar

Sometimes nature is pretty obvious with its signs about what a person shouldn’t touch. Cacti, yucca plants, porcupines and rattlesnakes, for instance, have signals akin to a flashing billboard. Then there are more devious dangers such as poky thorns on beautiful rose bushes and rash-inducing urushiol on unassuming poison ivy plants. I’m not sure where the subject of the following story fits into that spectrum, but I’ve become convinced I should have been paying a little closer attention to some …

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Cheyenne Trotters Coming to Fort Robinson State Park

CRAWFORD, Neb. — The Cheyenne Trotters, a group of skilled horse enthusiasts who specialize in cavalry demonstrations, parades and drill team performances, will entertain audiences during a series of appearances at Fort Robinson State Park in August. Drill performances are set for Thursday, Aug. 11, prior to the fort’s weekly rodeo at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m., also at the rodeo arena. Cavalry performances will be Friday-Sunday, Aug. 12-14, on the park’s parade grounds at 10 …

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Program at Chadron State Park Highlights Creatures of the Night

CHADRON, Neb. — Bats, owls and other nocturnal species will be in the spotlight this week as the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission presents its Creatures of the Night program at Chadron State Park. The program, which is open to the public free of charge, will be Saturday, July 30, at 8:30 p.m. beginning at the lagoon shelter. Amanda Filipi, an educator for the Commission, will lead the hike through the dark, in which participants may bring a flashlight or …

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Tonight’s Presentation at Chadron State Park Postponed

This week’s installment of the summer speaker series at northwestern Nebraska’s two state parks has been postponed because of illness. The “Creatures of the Night” presentation at Chadron State Park, which was planned for the night of Friday, July 8, will be rescheduled for a date to be determined. The series will resume Friday, July 15, at Fort Robinson State Park with the same “Creatures of the Night” presentation by Amanda Filipi, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educator.

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Lake Minatare Programs Put Focus on Fritillaries, Campfires

MINATARE, Neb. — A pair of free programs at Lake Minatare State Recreation Area on Saturday, July 16, will help participants enjoy and appreciate nature and the outdoors. The sessions, which will be at the Scouts Cabin, will teach how to build campfires and inform about the regal fritillary butterfly. The first session, which begins at 9 a.m., will focus on building campfires. By learning about the five most common types of campfires, attendees will gain a valuable tool in …

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Obstacle Course, Canoe Race Set at Chadron State Park

CHADRON, Neb. — Chadron State Park is inviting people to attend and afternoon of spirited competition at its annual Fur Trade Funday on Sunday, July 10. The event, part of Chadron’s annual Fur Trade Days celebration, features the Crooked Arrow Obstacle Course at 1 p.m. followed by the Kiwanis Fur Trade Regatta at about 3 p.m. The timed obstacle course near the park’s tennis courts challenges participants to post the best time in navigating a variety of challenges such as …

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Financial Incentives Available for Improving Pheasant Habitat, Access

Agriculture producers in the northern Panhandle are among many Nebraska landowners who may be eligible to earn extra income by helping the region’s pheasant population and other wildlife. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is offering special incentives to landowners within what has been labeled a Pheasant Opportunity Area in Box Butte, Dawes and Sheridan counties. The range of properties has been determined to have the best conditions and potential for pheasant hunting. The Commission is offering $3 per acre …

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Intertribal Powwow Canceled

The Intertribal Gathering Powwow, scheduled for June 18-19 at Fort Robinson State Park, has been canceled. The Friends of the Intertribal Gathering, the committee that oversees the event, decided earlier this week to cancel this year’s powwow, citing a lack of funding that led to a low number of committed participants. The committee is working to bring the powwow back next year. Although the powwow has been called off, the gathering’s popular 5k run is still a go. It will …

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