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Nebraska’s top 9 parks with trails for wildlife watching

Sunset view with flying sandhilll cranes at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area.

With migration underway and spring on our doorstep, now is a great time to get outside, bring some binoculars and walk a trail to see wildlife. Nebraska has many opportunities thanks to our diverse habitats – everything from prairie to ponderosa pine, wetlands and more than 23,000 miles of rivers and streams. Nebraska’s state parks are an ideal place to see the wildlife they hold, with a vast number of trails located in natural settings. Here are some of the …

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Participate in virtual fisheries meetings in March

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Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in a virtual discussion on fisheries management during meetings March 14-16. Four meetings – one for each Game and Parks district – will occur over three days, with fisheries biologists presenting updates on regional projects and providing local fishing outlooks. The informal, interactive gatherings will provide a chance for questions, dialogue and feedback. Registration to attend a regional session is required at OutdoorNebraska.org/FishingEvents. Meetings are: March 14 — 7 p.m. CST, Southeast District …

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Register for Memorial Run and help raise money for state park trails

Pictured is the waterfall at Platte River State Park in Cass County. Kurrus, May 25, 2018. Copyright NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Registration is open for the Tyler Vanderheiden Memorial Run, an annual race aimed at raising awareness and understanding of mental health that also acts as a fundraiser for Nebraska Game and Parks state park trails. The run is May 14, 2022, at Cody Park in North Platte. Participants may choose between a 2-mile or 5-mile distance and run it virtually. People may register at PlatteRiverFitness.com/PublicHealth or donate to the fundraiser at TVM.BetterWorld.org. This year, funds raised will help support the construction and upgrade …

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Photo contest winners featured in Nebraskaland available now

Nebraskaland photo contest's Best of Show winner was “Sandhill Crane Preening on Platte River Bank” by Britton Bailey of Aurora, a photograph captured at Rowe Sanctuary in central Nebraska.

LINCOLN, Neb. – Winners of the 2021 Nebraskaland Magazine photo contest are featured in the March edition of the magazine now on newsstands. More than 3,000 entries were submitted, a record for the annual contest that began in 2015. This year’s Best of Show winner was “Sandhill Crane Preening on Platte River Bank” by Britton Bailey of Aurora, a photograph captured at Rowe Sanctuary in central Nebraska. First-, second- and third-place prizes also were awarded in four categories. First-place winners …

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Free-earned Landowner Elk Permit Program now available

LINCOLN, Neb. – Landowners and leaseholders can get a free elk permit based on accumulated antlerless elk harvests on their Nebraska property. The Free-earned Landowner Elk Permit Program was approved by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in October 2021 and became effective in mid-December. In the program, a person who owns or leases at least 80 acres of agricultural land qualifies for an either-sex elk permit following the verification of 10 general permit holder or special depredation season antlerless …

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Catch these Game and Parks education events in February

LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in February. Here are several opportunities: Nature Tales story time for pre-K has two events in February LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will host the free, virtual pre-K program, Nature Tales, at 10 a.m. Central time Feb. 1 and Feb. 8. Outdoor educators from across the state will read, via Zoom, a nature-themed children’s book, then lead an …

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Nebraska state parks offering Valentine’s opportunities

Pictured are the cabins at Lewis & Clark State Recreation Area in Knox County. Kurrus, Feb. 7, 2008. Copyright NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

LINCOLN, Neb. – Guests can enjoy special lodging, gift packages or events this Valentine’s Day at four Nebraska state parks. Ponca State Park will offer its annual Birds and Breakfast event Feb. 11-12, a weekend getaway package that includes a 30% discount on lodging, a complimentary bottle of wine or cider, a breakfast basket in your cabin, and an opportunity to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count on Feb. 12. For additional details, call the park at 402-755-2284. In …

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Game and Parks names Swenson deputy director

LINCOLN, Neb. – Jim Swenson has been selected as deputy director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Swenson, a native of Oakland, Nebraska, begins his new duties Dec. 27. Swenson came to the agency in 1983, working as a seasonal employee for the parks and resource services divisions prior to gaining a full-time position in 1986. He has been administrator of the parks division since May 2014, leading the team that welcomes millions of visitors to the state parks. …

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Kick off New Year with First Day Hikes

Hiking through the forest for First Day Hikes in Nebraska.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Kick off the new year in the great outdoors by participating in First Day Hikes at Nebraska’s state parks Jan. 1. Join in one of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s planned hikes and enjoy the activities that go along with it, or create your own adventure by exploring trails, watching wildlife, or snapping photos at any state park. Activities include a fruitcake fling and gnome hunt at Ponca State Park, snowball toss at Indian Cave State …

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Nebraska state parks to be featured in new RV reality show

Dave Burch rides the trails at Platte River State Park for the RV There Yet? reality TV series to air on Discovery Channel.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska is more than cows and corn — and really may be for everyone after all. The state will get its Discovery Channel debut Jan. 8 when RV There Yet? airs episode two, “Not just Cows and Corn,” featuring Arbor Lodge State Historical Park, Platte River State Park and Chadron State Park. The new reality show comes just at the right time. State and national parks saw record levels of visitors in the past few years, with …

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