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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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What is that mushroom? Is it edible?

*BLOGGER’S NOTE: I have been inundated with inquiries and questions about the dryad’s saddle or pheasant’s back mushroom this spring. So I wanted to bring back and repurpose a blog I wrote a little more than one-year ago about this edible, wild woodland fungi. I hope you find it helpful and informative. Enjoy your time in the woods! GW. Along with finding and picking morel mushrooms, there is another edible wild fungi growing in your moist woodlands that you should …

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Platte River State Park

I never feel overwhelmed at Platte River State Park. Whether there are thousands of kids attending an Outdoor Discovery day or just a few vehicles, I can always take a deep, relaxing breath whenever I pull into the park. Located three miles from Louisville – between Omaha and Lincoln – the park is a welcomed break from city life. It offers both family-friendly attractions and solace in its 450 acres, even on the busiest of weekends. I love playing with …

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The Invasion of Garlic Mustard

Morel mushroom hunters will know this plant: Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), a biennial, is one of the first signs of green-up in Missouri River woodlands. This low-lying plant prefers moist soils, shade and limited sun, and while its heart-shaped leaves might look inviting during the bareness of early spring, garlic mustard is highly invasive. It outcompetes native plants and threatens the biodiversity of our woodland ecosystems. Distribution The story of how garlic mustard arrived to the New World is similar …

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Kearney Water Trail

At 2.3 miles, the Kearney Water Trail is undoubtedly one of the shortest in Nebraska. Despite that fact, it might also be one of the busiest. On any given day from April through October, you’re apt to see kayakers paddling down the trail, which utilizes the Kearney Canal and Turkey Creek on the southwestern corner of this central Nebraska city of 38,000. Its location certainly plays into its popularity. The trail opened in 2016, a joint effort between the city, …

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Platte River Water Trail

I’ve paddled many of the state’s rivers, mostly during the past 20 years creating stories on the state’s water trails in this magazine. But until 2018, I hadn’t floated the Platte, despite living a mere 30 miles from its course. By then, my wife, Theresa, and I had owned kayaks for five years, but we mostly paddled lakes around our home in Lincoln. On this day, it wasn’t long before we asked ourselves why we’d waited so long to float …

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Nature is the Respite for Coronavirus Concerns in Nebraska

Though we are in uncharted territory with COVID-19 regarding advisories and mandates, truly there is no better place to gain easy personal solitude or social distancing from the virus than in nature! All state park area grounds are open! They are not closed! They remain open to you for all sorts of outdoor pursuits – Sightseeing, picnicking, running, hiking, biking, camping, wildlife watching, fishing, mushroom hunting, etc. The Cowboy Trail is also open for use. Enjoying time in our state …

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2019 Flood: $19 million in Damage

Game and Parks Still Working to Recover For many Nebraskans, 2019 was a tough year. Historic flooding in March sent nearly every river in the eastern half of the state out of its banks, washing out highways, bridges, dams, levees, farms and homes, and killing four people and countless livestock. Flooding along the Missouri River in southeastern Nebraska continued throughout the year. More floods hit south-central Nebraska in July and the northeast in September. It is estimated that the flooding …

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Those Alluring Orbs

When photographing Nebraska’s great places, the moon and the sun are always welcome to the scene. Whether it be the fast-beating wings of a zigzagging teal or the earth-hammering legs of a sprinting pronghorn, a quick “trigger finger” is often necessary for capturing imagery of the region’s natural resources. Perhaps no photo subjects, though, get me in hot pursuit more than two that are the farthest from the camera. One is about 239,000 miles away. The other, almost 93 million …

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Broadcast News

I am sharing some broadcast news related to Nebraska’s outdoor scene with you this week. Regarding my weekly television appearance about outdoors-related activities and destinations, that can now be seen on Omaha’s ABC news affiliate KETV NewsWatch 7 and www.KETV.com between 8 and 8:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings with popular  TV anchor/host, John Oakey. Called the “Great Outdoors,” this segment represents a fresh, new visual approach to letting you know about various outdoor news items and features around the Omaha-metro …

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