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justin haag

Justin Haag serves the Panhandle as a public information officer for the Commission, also 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 enjoy introducing their two children to the many outdoor recreational opportunities of the Pine Ridge region.

Chadron State Park Celebration is Saturday

Nebraska’s first state park will celebrate its 93rd anniversary Saturday with a wide variety of activities for all ages. Activities are planned at Chadron State Park from early morning to late at night. “We have a lot of great activities planned for people young to old and expect to have big turnout for our celebration,” said Gregg Galbraith, park superintendent. “If you’re looking for a great way to have a lot of fun for not a lot of money, this …

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Buzzing about Bees: Pollinator Workshop Scheduled at Wildcat Hills

A one-day workshop at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering this month will explore the importance of pollinating insects to the world’s food supply and ecosystems. The Panhandle Pollinators Workshop will be Thursday, June 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free to the first 25 registrants. A lunch will be provided. The deadline to register is Friday, June 13. While many know of bees as obvious pollinators, the workshop will discuss a variety of other …

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Saddle Up and Ride in the Panhandle

Those looking to ride horses in a scenic area with wide open spaces will be hard-pressed to find better territory than the Panhandle of western Nebraska. Two state parks in Nebraska’s scenic Pine Ridge offer trail rides and riding is allowed on an abundance of other public land in this region of rugged buttes, sweeping grasslands and ponderosa pine forests. Visitors to Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford soon realize they’re in horse country. A sign at the entrance of …

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Nature Programs Continue at Chadron, Fort Robinson SPs

A series of nature programs continues this week at the two state parks in the northern Panhandle. Park naturalist Jami Campbell will lead eight family-friendly programs at Chadron State Park and Fort Robinson State Park on Thursday, June 5, through Saturday, June 7. The action will start at Chadron State Park’s Trading Post on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with a program about snakes. At 5:30 p.m. she will tell about the tiniest creatures in the prairies and forests. The programming …

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Wildflower tour set at Fort Robinson State Park

It is prime time for viewing wildflowers in the Pine Ridge and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission staff members are inviting the public to an informational hike through the colorful countryside. Commission biologist Shelley Steffl and park naturalist Jami Campbell will lead the hike in the Mexican Canyon area of Fort Robinson State Park on Saturday, June 7. Participants will meet at the Post Playhouse at 9:30 a.m. and form a convoy to the site of the morning hike. Participants …

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Deadline Nearing for Crop Stubble Incentives

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is reminding landowners that they have until June 1 to enroll in a program that pays for keeping wheat and milo stubble tall during this year’s harvest. Last year, the Nebraska Environmental Trust awarded $1.5 million to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to enroll tall wheat and milo stubble into the Crop Stubble Management, Wildlife and Water Conservation Program over three years. This is the second year of the grant. The program is …

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Panhandle Passages: Dreaming of a White … Mother’s Day

My friends, family and other followers know that I try to post one nature photo each weekday to Facebook and Twitter. It’s a fun exercise, and I’m sometimes surprised to discover which photos generate the most reaction among friends on followers on social media. It seems some photos that get the best response take the least amount of work. Others, of which I’ve forged an emotional attachment because of their technical difficulty or the hike and planning involved to get …

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Panhandle Parks Gearing Up for Free Entry Day

Many of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s attractions in the Panhandle are planning special activities for Free Park Entry and Fishing Day on Saturday, May 17. Free Park Entry and Fishing Day is an annual event in which the Commission allows fishing and entry to parks without requiring permits. It provides an opportunity for people to experience the state’s diverse park areas and fishing resources free of charge. Following is a list of special activities at the region’s State …

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Prescribed burns planned in the Panhandle

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission officials have scheduled prescribed burns on Wildlife Management Areas in Scotts Bluff and Morrill counties in the coming weeks. A 200-acre burn at the Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area southwest of Gering may begin as early as Tuesday and Wednesday, April 15-16, if conditions are favorable. Other properties with approved burn plans may follow. They are the Arnold Trupp WMA north of Bayard and the Nine Mile Creek WMA southeast of Lake Minatare State Recreation …

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Panhandle Passages: Taking Root

Every little bit helps, and every little bit has a way of turning into a big bit. Such is the case with the Boy Scouts’ annual tree planting event at Fort Robinson State Park, which I enjoyed photographing Saturday. The process of getting hundreds of scouts and volunteers into the field to plant ponderosa pine seedlings in the yearly reforestation effort has been honed to near perfection and is a sight to see. It was a bittersweet day, though, for …

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