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NEBRASKAland Articles

Summer Wildflowers of the Sandhills

Yucca (Yucca glauca) adorns a sand dune in Cherry County. Also called soapweed, the plant’s crushed roots, when agitated in water, produce a lather used as a shampoo by Great Plains tribes. They ate the flowers, flower stalks and young seedpods raw or cooked.

Blooms on the Dunes From many Sandhills dune tops, one can see prairie stretching to the horizons. North America’s largest sand dune field, the wind-whipped Sandhills, covers more than 20,000 square miles of north-central Nebraska, ranging from low and rolling to steep and towering. The Sandhills is also our nation’s most intact grassland ecosystem – the wildflower-rich prairie, a vestige of times past. n 1795, James Mackay, working for the Upper Missouri Company, led the first European expedition into the heart of the …

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Our Own Danish Alps

Danish Alps SRA, State Park, Sunset, Boating, Lake

Dakota County’s Budding State Recreation Area Tucked away among the rolling hills of Dakota County, Danish Alps State Recreation Area (SRA) derives its name from the early Danish pioneers who first settled in the area. Its creation was part of a two-fold plan by the Papio-Missouri Natural Resource District (NRD): to stabilize the Pigeon/Jones Creek Watershed and to build the most thoughtfully planned recreation area possible. Plans for the SRA were drawn up in the fall of 2009, and the …

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Aquatic Habitat Program Celebrates 20 Years

Fisheries biologists Jared Lorensen and Caleb Huber conduct an electrofishing survey on West Brady Wildlife Management Area, one of seven interstate lakes recently improved for angler access.

To maintain, restore or enhance the capacity of a waterbody to produce and sustain fish. In the mid-1990s, Nebraska’s reservoirs constructed during the middle part of the 20th century were showing their age: Basins had filled with silt, shorelines had eroded, water quality had degraded, and less-than-desirable fish communities made for poor angling. Anglers wanted change. More than 650 anglers attended 19 meetings across the state beginning in 1993 to discuss problems and possible solutions related to aging reservoirs and …

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Grassland tribute

Supermoon over Sugarloaf Butte

In the May issue of NEBRASKAland Magazine, you will find a story and photos about one of my favorite places in the Panhandle – an area that might sometimes be overshadowed by its neighbor. The Oglala Grassland is a region in northern Dawes and Sioux counties that borders Nebraska’s stunning Pine Ridge and the South Dakota border. The region is designated one of the Panhandle’s 11 designated biologically unique landscapes in the Natural Legacy Project – the state’s wildlife action …

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The Best Places for RVs in Nebraska 2018

alexandria sra

You’ll be surprised by how many beautiful places in Nebraska recreational vehicles can visit. Many Game and Parks attractions have sites catering  to recreational vehicle users during their outdoor pursuits. Here is a list of some of the best places for RV recreational opportunities in Nebraska. Alexandria State Recreation Area (Jefferson County) – 40 sites with 30-amp electrical hookup, 5 sites with 50-amp electrical hookup and 8 sites without electricity. The campground offers water, modern restrooms, a playground and dump …

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Women on ice – a Beyond BOW adventure

The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program recently hosted a Beyond BOW ice fishing event at the Valentine Refuge Lakes. With good ice throughout the state it was the perfect time to teach women about the equipment and techniques of ice fishing. During this Beyond BOW, women that wanted to learn how to ice fish or get more insight of the sport signed up to experience something new where they could learn together. Emails of what to bring were sent out …

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Panhandle’s natural beauty abundant in 2017

Concealed beneath a grass blind as the sun rises. Camping beneath a star-filled sky on a rocky ridge. Trekking with snowshoes into a forest blanketed by white. Soaring above the buttes while riding shotgun in a Cessna. Stirring up dust with a four-wheel drive on winding backroads. Those are just some of the many ways I witnessed beauty of the western Nebraska with camera in hand during 2017. A look back at the nature images I post to Facebook, Instagram …

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A partridge for the holidays

Gray partridge

As the “12 Days of Christmas” nears, it seems fitting to pay tribute to the gift most often mentioned in the familiar tune of that same name. That, of course, would be the partridge that “my true love sent to me” over and over again. While traveling a dirt road in northern Sheridan County in early December, I encountered the first partridge I have ever seen in the wild. I had heard of the gray partridge (Perdix perdix) residing in …

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Eclipse Tourists Shocked by Nebraskan Friendliness

eclipse

Nebraska puts “southern hospitality” to shame according to eclipse tourists. A Pennsylvania family sent in this rave review of the state after visiting during 2017’s eclipse: I’m writing to NEBRASKAland to tell you how much I enjoy it. I first subscribed to the magazine in February after I decided I was coming to Nebraska to watch the eclipse. I thought it might give me some tips on what to do and see in Nebraska. It did, as we enjoyed an outing …

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The Worth of a Wild Goose

goose cover

Canada Goose Hunting in Nebraska and “the Leopold tingle” In his classic 1949 book A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold, the father of wildlife conservation, asked: “What is a wild goose worth? I have a ticket to the symphony. It was not cheap … but I would forego the experience for the sight of the big gander that sailed honking into my decoys at daybreak this morning. I saw him, I heard the wind whistle through his set wings, as …

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