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Nebraskaland Behind the Scenes: Speedlights & Bikes

Story by Eric Fowler Photos by Alex Wiles View Eric Fowler’s featured July article on Platte River State Park Bike Trails HERE. When it comes to photography, “light is everything.” That’s what Jon Farrar, who spent four decades filling the pages of Nebraskaland with spectacular photographs, once told me. That simple statement is so true. Capture an image of the most striking landscape in the world in harsh mid-day light and you will likely have a photo that is average …

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Bluegill are a Great Catch 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 provided to 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 57 years of age (approaching 58), I still …

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Wagon Train Lake remains on health alert

LINCOLN, Neb. – A health alert for harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae, remains in effect at Wagon Train Lake in Lancaster County. Visitors to Wagon Train State Recreation Area should avoid full-body contact activities that could lead to swallowing water, such as swimming, wading, skiing, jet skiing, etc. Non-contact activities such as boating, fishing and camping are OK. Dog owners are urged to keep pets out of the water and not allow them to ingest lake …

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Some state park service centers to reopen July 1

LINCOLN, Neb. – Select state park area service centers will reopen to the public July 1 for customer service, information and permit sales. Amenities such as interpretive displays and gift shops will not be available. Restrooms may be open. All park service center visitors must wear a face mask. A list of service centers opening on July 1 can be found at OutdoorNebraska.gov/healthinfo. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is continuing to make services and amenities available and is committed …

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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Big Changes at the Big Lake Nearly everything about Lake McConaughy is big. At 30,000 surface acres, it is Nebraska’s largest reservoir, its dam is among the largest of its kind in the world, and its fish grow to trophy proportions, accounting for several state records. Even its nickname, “Big Mac,” reflects its size. Located 8 miles northeast of Ogallala, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is known to most Nebraskans and residents of neighboring states as a great place for …

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Platte River State Park Bike Trails

Mountain bikers have been riding the trails carved into the bluffs at Platte River State Park for decades, its hills and rocks providing a challenge many yearn for, with the scenery providing the icing on the cake. Now they have a new set of singletrack trails loaded with unique features all for themselves as part of an addition to the park that could become a mountain bike destination for riders from across the country. Along with 4.4 miles of new …

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There is no excuse for not wearing a life jacket on the water!

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 41 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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Health alert issued for Wagon Train Lake

LINCOLN, Neb. – A health alert for harmful algal blooms, also known as toxic blue-green algae, has been issued at Wagon Train Lake in Lancaster County. Visitors to Wagon Train State Recreation Area should avoid full-body contact activities that could lead to swallowing water, such as swimming, wading, skiing, jet skiing, etc. Non-contact activities such as boating, fishing and camping are OK. Dog owners are urged to keep pets out of the water and not allow them to ingest lake …

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Plan ahead and stay safe when having fun on the water

The Nebraska state park system offers some fantastic beaches for swimming and wading, and they’re open now! More than two dozen state recreation areas offer a chance for everyone to catch some rays, play in the sand and cool off in the water of lakes and reservoirs during hot days, as long as COVID-19 health guidelines and measures are followed. Beach swimming is blast! My family and I really enjoy it. However, drowning in dark water is a real danger. Even …

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Preserving the Pine Ridge

Catastrophic wildfires have ravaged more than half of northwestern Nebraska’s pine forests. Land managers are making strides toward a more sustainable future. On this sunny day, Bryce Gerlach is visiting a timber-thinning project at Gilbert-Baker Wildlife Management Area in the northwest corner of the state. Gerlach, who is a forester funded by the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, likes what he sees. “This is the project that is going to save Gilbert-Baker someday,” he …

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