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How to Cook with a Dutch Oven: The Great Camp Cooking Pot

Fall is quickly approaching and there is nothing more satisfying than sitting by a campfire and enjoying a hearty meal from a Dutch oven. Simple one pot meals that will give your taste buds a treat and a full stomach. These tried-and-true pieces of American history haven’t change much over the years and a quality oven can last a century. Many new campers and outdoor enthusiasts alike are anxious to learn how to cook in them. I have been around …

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Volunteer Spotlight – Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

Living history volunteer Bob Baker celebrates 30 years at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park  By Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley Fort Atkinson State Historical Park is located in Fort Calhoun, Washington County. The original military post was active 1819-1827, and its main purpose was to protect the American fur trade by guarding the “gateway to the West.” At its height, Fort Atkinson housed nearly a quarter of the standing U.S. Army (approximately 1,200 soldiers) and roughly that many civilians lived just beyond the …

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Long Pine Creek

Work Improves a Unique Fishery in the Sandhills Story and photos by Eric Fowler Joel Klammer repeatedly casts a woolly bugger fly toward rock structures in Long Pine Creek and lets it drift through the deep holes below them. He thinks he sees a fish attempting to bite on one drift, but after 20 minutes, he decides his first choice of flies wasn’t going to cut it on this section of the creek on Pine Glen Wildlife Management Area. So, …

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The Last Relic

By Eric Fowler Coulda, coulda, shoulda. Our lives can be full of them. The story of one of mine began in 1999, the first time I visited Niobrara State Park. From the hilltop overlooking the Niobrara River, I could see a rooftop poking out of the trees in the riverbottom. I was told it was the picnic shelter in the old park, the one that opened in 1935 and was closed when the park moved to its current location in …

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An Outdoor Staycation

Summit Lake State Recreation Area Story and photos by Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley Set down camp on lush, green lawns and manicured campsites. Drop a line from a picture-worthy fishing pier, or slowly work your way across a no-wake lake inside a boat. Then at the end of the day, sit back with a drink to watch the golden light sink below the glistening lake at your feet — it’s like you’ve arrived in paradise without having to hop onto a plane. …

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Campfire Therapy

By Eric Fowler The flames dance. The coals glow. The wood crackles and pops. The combination of these elements is mesmerizing. It is therapy. Sit there alone and stare into a campfire’s depths, and you can’t help but relax as the warmth melts your worries away. Sit around a fire with friends or family, and you can rehash old times, solve the world’s problems and make future plans. In Boy Scouts, it was the perfect setting for telling ghost stories. …

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Branched Oak Through the Seasons

There is not a time of the year when Branched Oak State Recreation Area northwest of Lincoln isn’t busy. But there’s also not a time of year when a person can’t find their own little slice of nature so close to the city. Photos and story by Eric Fowler Branched Oak State Recreation Area is a busy place. Especially in the summer. Which makes sense considering the 1,800-acre reservoir is the largest body of water within an hour’s drive of …

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Three Outdoor Apps

By Renae Blum Wish your kids spent more time outdoors and less time in front of a screen? It’s a common concern. Rather than cutting out electronics completely, a phone can be a great tool in helping spark a child’s curiosity and interest in the outdoors. Give the three apps below a try. All are free, available on both Google Play and the Apple App Store — and can enrich your family’s experience of the outdoors. Merlin Bird ID Kids …

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How to Avoid the Crowds When Going Camping

It’s camping season and friends of mine told me the other day they were thinking of 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 to an area to where it all will be happening with quite a few people there. Admittedly, I don’t want to be around big crowds …

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Camping Etiquette for Beginners

By Julie Geiser Camping is a great way to enjoy nature, recreate, and recharge, but while you’re at a campground there is always some etiquette to follow to make sure everyone has a good time every time. Not Too Early or Too Late Try to arrive at your campsite well before dark. This gives you time to set up camp while it’s still light out, which is much easier than trying in the dark. And when possible, don’t pack up …

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