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Dead Timber State Recreation Area

Complicated Past, but a Bright Future Despite its proximity to busy Highway 275 north of Scribner, Dead Timber State Recreation Area is hidden. Even its entrance, which faces a crop field on the other side, is unassuming and plain. The sign indicates that you’re in the right place, but you turn off the county road and wonder, “Is this it?” From your vehicle, you wouldn’t be able to see that to the southwest, just beyond the stretch of mowed grass, …

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Your Camera Doesn’t See Like You Do

Part 3 of 3 Have you ever been frustrated because some parts of a photo are way too bright while others are so dark you can’t see any details? Why does the image on the screen of your phone or camera look so much less vibrant and impressive than the gorgeous sunset in front of you? Simply put, your camera doesn’t see the world the way you do. The first two parts of this series covered the more mechanical aspects …

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Sketching Ash Hollow in 1851

Imagine sitting in a darkened theater watching a giant canvas on stage. The canvas is spooled at either end and advances like a giant scroll. Painted on the canvas are scenes of the Oregon Trail. A narrator describes the great journey that thousands of your fellow citizens are making. The giant scroll was called the Pantoscope, and it was big hit in Eastern theaters in the 1850s. Designed and promoted by entrepreneur J. Wesley Jones, it was based on sketches …

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Bluegill Provide the Fireworks of Fishing in Summer

It’s hot. It’s humid. Whew! Yeah, it’s summer alright. Hey, has your fishing success slowed with the conditions? Well, one fish leads the way with lots of action for anglers in the good, old summertime — bluegill. A male bluegill stands guard on its nest in a southern Nebraska pond. Underwater photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Maybe it’s the kid in me, I don’t know. But, at 58 years of age (approaching 59), I still enjoy …

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No Excuse for not Wearing a Life Jacket

It bothers me to no end that people have such cavalier excuses regarding why they don’t want to wear life jackets on the water in a boat. In my 42 years at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I have seen my share of boating tragedies. I have seen the victims of boating fatalities who were not wearing their life jackets. You never, ever forget them. Often the victims died right in front of close family members and good friends …

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A Thorough Guide for Tubing on Nebraska Rivers

Ahhh … Leisurely floating on one of Nebraska’s many scenic rivers or streams in an inflated inner tube is a cool, refreshing, relaxing, way to enjoy a hot summer day with family and friends, isn’t it? A small group of tubers take a rest break on their float trip amid the beautiful scenery of the Calamus River near Burwell in the Nebraska Sandhills. Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Oh, yeah! Summer river or stream tubing is …

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Why Wear Rubber Gloves When Handling Fish?

I continue to be called bad names for wearing them. Most recently, I was called a “super wimp” for having them on my hands. I have been labeled an “inadequate angler” since I have donned on them. I have been told that my “bravado” and “edge” have been lost when it comes to fishing because I am handling fish while wearing rubber gloves. Ah yes, THOSE GLOVES. People have also had their curiosity piqued by those of us who wear rubber …

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How to Avoid the Crowds When Going Camping

My neighbors told me the other day that they were heading out on a Friday night to camp at a popular state recreation area in order to “get away from it all” on a nice weekend. Hmmm … I wanted to tell them that most likely, they were heading an area to where it all will be happening with quite a few people there. But how do you steer clear of crowds when you’re trying to plan a summer camping …

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Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

An Oasis at the Edge of the Sandhills Victoria Springs State Recreation opened in August 1925, an estimated 4,500 people attended the celebration. These days, around 6,000 people visit in an entire year. It’s a quiet little park, which is exactly why those who visit do so. Some folks will say the 60-acre park is in the middle of nowhere. But that isn’t true. It’s only 6 miles off the beaten path of Nebraska Highway 2 if you head west …

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Backpacking the Pine Ridge Trail

An Adventure Story Through work and play, I have been no stranger to the Pine Ridge Trail. Portions of the route that transects the heart of public lands in the Pine Ridge escarpment between Chadron and Crawford have served me well as a way to access scenic landscapes and wildlife, or just enjoy a short hike or bike ride. Though I had been on many parts of the trail, which measures about 40 miles, I had never connected the dots …

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