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Lake Minatare Opening to Birdwatchers Dec. 10

The mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is just one of the many waterfowl species expected to be seen during a special event for birdwatchers at Lake Minatare. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

The public will have a unique opportunity for viewing birds during an event at Lake Minatare State Recreation Area on Saturday, Dec. 10.

The event marks the only opportunity for the public to access the 2,158-acre reservoir on the North Platte National Wildlife Refuge for its annual closure between Oct. 15 and Jan. 14. Birdwatchers who want to participate in the one-day event may arrive at the lighthouse on Lakeview Point any time between 8-11 a.m. Binoculars, spotting scopes and blinds will be provided.

Employees of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will lead the program. Dan Thornton, lake superintendent, said many birds are expected to be in the area at the time, including a variety of migratory waterfowl species and possibly bald eagles.

The event is open to the public free of charge, but vehicles entering the area must have a 2016 park permit. The permits are available for purchase online at OutdoorNebraska.org or from vendors throughout the state.


About 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.

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