In the Wild with Greg Wagner

PARK IT IN A PARK – HIDDEN SANDHILLS TREASURES by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
September 3, 2009, 2:32 pm
Filed under: Camping, Fishing, State Parks, Streams | Tags: , , ,
Keller Park WMA

Keller School Land WMA next to Keller Park SRA. Photo Copyright: NEBRASKAland Magazine, courtesy of Sarah Johnson.

I am a huge fan of Nebraska’s 86 state parklands. I have visited all of them at least a half a dozen times throughout my life. I have traveled our nation extensively and no other state park system can match the diversity of our parks here in Nebraska, whether it’s the landscape, the outdoor activities and amenities offered, the fishing, hunting & camping options, the wildlife to be viewed, the history, etc. I have calculated that most Nebraskans have one or more these state parklands less than an hour’s drive from of their homes, if not closer! I encourage you to discover (or re-discover) what lies in your own big backyard here in Nebraska for state parks, historical parks and recreation areas.

Keller Park SRA

Keller Park SRA. Photo Copyright: NEBRASKAland Magazine.

Additionally, I wanted to share with you a couple of my favs for you and your family to check out perhaps this Labor Day Weekend or yet this fall. The two are Keller Park and Long Pine State Recreation Areas situated in Brown County in the gorgeous northern Nebraska Sandhills. Both are true hidden, natural treasures. If you know me, you know that I am very fond of the 20,000 square mile geographic area of Nebraska called the Sandhills and its parks and public lands there.

  With its terrain typical of that found along the Niobrara River, the Keller Park State Recreation Area near Ainsworth nestles amid rugged bluffs covered with oak, pine and cedar trees. Area Park Superintendent Dave Harlan of Bassett, NE bills Keller as “the best kept outdoor secret in Nebraska.” An ideal get-away-from-it-all spot for primitive and modern campers, the 197-acre area also offers picnicking, hiking and hunting possibilities along with fishing in five ponds. There is also a 640-acre tract of wildlife management area property (named The Keller School Land Wildlife Management Area) that adjoins the recreation area land.         

Long Pine SRA. Photo by: Dave Harlan NG&PC Parks Division.

A slice of the Rockies in northern Nebraska, that best illustrates the 154-acre Long Pine State Recreation Area near the village of Long Pine. Scenic canyons lined with a Western Pine and an Eastern Hardwood forest; the area has access to spring-fed Long Pine Creek – a top trout fishing stream for rainbows and browns as well as popular inner tubing water.

Long Pine SRA

Long Pine SRA. Photo Copyright: NEBRASKAland Magazine.

The adjacent 160-acre Long Pine Wildlife Management Area provides added ground and access to the creek for outdoor recreation. The Long Pine State Recreation Area offers primitive camping, picnicking, hiking, some hunting, plus an archery range.  Harlan comments on the Long Pine State Recreation Area that he manages:  “One of the most beautiful spots in Nebraska. It has it all from camping to relaxing in a tube to catching nice rainbows!”

 Duane Westerholt who coordinates state park planning & development reminds those of us heading to Keller and Long Pine of the nearby Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding with its spectacular bridge over Long Pine Creek. 

 Visit the State Parks Section of our NG & PC website for more details about each of these unique areas and others in our great park system. Come “Park it in a Park!”


3 Comments so far
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I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

A definite great read..Jim Bean

Comment by JimmyBean

Thanks JimmyBean, I’ll continue to do my best. Take care.

“Wags” — Greg Wagner

Comment by Daryl Bauer

If only more people could read about this..

Comment by Rigoberto Gates

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