Looking for a family friendly activity this summer that will benefit body and mind?
Listen to Outdoor Nebraska Radio Interview with Tim Montgomery Talking About the Great Parks Pursuit.
How it works – Visit any or all of the 20 participating local, state or federal parks, follow clues to locate a station tracing post to create a tracing of a nature impression, mail your impressions into the GPP office indicating the total parks visited. Entry into prize drawings are based on the number of traced impressions collected, so the more impressions you make the greater your opportunity to win.
How to get started – register online at www.negpp.org/register/ or request a packet and registration form by calling (402) 471-5424. Teams register as individuals, families, friends, coworkers, youth organizations, or any other group. Select a park from the 20 available on the Locations page at the website. Print off the park page and take it to that park. Follow the clues on the park page to locate the station tracing post. Make a tracing of the impression. Plan your next GPP park trip.
- Wildcat Hills SRA
- Lake Minatare SRA
- Alliance – Snake Creek Trail in Central Park
- Buffalo Bill SHP, Fort Kearny SHP
- Windmill SRA, Hastings – Libs Park
- Central City – Clarke Park and Aquatic Center
- York – Mincks Park, Seward – Plum Creek Trail
- Pawnee SRA, Homestead National Monument
- Arbor Lodge SHP
- Louisville SRA
- Papillion – Halleck Park
- Wahoo – Placek Park
- Fort Atkinson SHP
- Ashfall Fossil Beds SHP
- Niobrara SP and Cowboy Trail near Valentine
Volunteers of all Ages Critical to Vitality of our Parks
During these tough economic times, volunteers are a critical cog in the state park system. State parks rely on volunteers to assist in a wide variety of supporting roles. Their roles in the trenches, maintaining the level of “the good life” experience Nebraskans have come to expect is an integral part of the day to day activities at campgrounds, playgrounds, lakes, rivers, and trails.
You might not think that volunteering in our parks would make a big difference to the bottom line, but tracking systems have been quietly documenting in the background – identifying how much time and money our volunteers impact our state park system. For example, Fort Robinson State Park just had their annual Tree Planting day on April 2. They saw 1,028 volunteers that provided 8,224 hours of their personal time to plant trees for the park. The staff hosted a cookout for the volunteers and spent, including park staff time, $5,481.61 for the entire planting day. Let’s just imagine that those volunteers were not available and willing to help out. If the park was instead looking at hiring temporary employees at minimum wage to do these duties, it would have cost the agency $59,624. In this one example, it is fair to say that the volunteers saved the state and its taxpayers $54,142.39 by stepping up to the service challenge.
If you are looking for a good way to contribute your valuable volunteer time, Game and Parks would like to help you get “plugged into” an experience that is a good fit for you and the parks that need you. On our website, we have access to resources and links to information about a variety of programs that allow you to spend your volunteer time outdoors, doing what you enjoy. These programs include the Campground Host program, the Volunteer in Parks program, the Living History program, the Take Pride in America Day program, and the Trail Maintenance program.
A good place to start if you are interested in volunteering is the TAKE PRIDE IN AMERICA event. For more information on how to participate, visit our Take Pride in America park event page Several state recreation and wildlife management areas across the state are coordinating volunteer projects as part of “Take Pride in America Day” on Saturday, May 7.
Another way to contribute is getting involved in the camp hosts program. http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks/programs/camphosts/camphosts.asp In the near future, additional pages will be created for more volunteer opportunity postings so check back often. This year when visitors enter a state park area, they may encounter designated camp hosts sporting camp host hats that clearly indicate the individual is part of the volunteer system in the state parks.
Our volunteer programs have continued to evolve and grow stronger each year. Game and Parks is striving to optimize the volunteers efforts and maximize their contributions to the needs of the state park system. It is truly a partnership that benefits all who live and visit here as well as the wildlife and outdoor experiences available in our great state.
Interested in volunteering or for more information? Contact email@example.com�
Cornhusker Trapshoot Sets Record for Participants
A record number of 1,900 trapshooters competed in the Cornhusker Trapshoot on April 28 and 29 at the home grounds of the Nebraska Trapshooting Association (NTA) in Doniphan. Junior and senior trapshooters from across the state, as well as Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota, come to take aim at the annual spring event. The Cornhusker Trapshoot is hosted by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the NTA.
This state championship event has grown every year. At last count 300 squads and 8,000 spectators made their way to Doniphan to attend the event.
“Boys and girls of all ages are taking up shooting sports as a hobby,” Shoot Director Terry Brentzel said. “It is getting easier to do that, too, because there are so many opportunities available to get started. There are hunter education courses, live-fire programs, school programs, and mentored hunts available, as well as a number of excellent shooting ranges.”
Students who are on the club teams usually pay their own way for what can be an expensive sport. Attending schools and their fans watched their team’s trapshooters at the firing line, where as many as 110 shooters take aim on one of 22 traps.
- Cody Newlun of Hastings 4-H won a shootout to capture the Cornhusker Cup. Newlun, who shot 89X100 to win the 24-25 Yard handicap, finished with a 186X200 two-day score to tie Republican Valley 4-H’s Blake Brumbaugh and head to a shootout. Nick Yardley of Gordon-Rushville was three points back in third place. Last year Lincoln Southwest High School’s Zach Bryant won the Cornhusker Cup with 196 out of 200. Bryant now attends Lindenwood University near St. Louis on scholarship for trapshooting.
- Jacqueline Baude of Papillion-LaVista South was the high overall girl with a 179X200. She shot an 83X100 Saturday for second place in the girls’ handicap. She also helped her team win the high overall girls team crown.
- Melissa Harnack, Taylor Holzer, Bailey Kustka, and Marisa Braddock helped the Lady Titans shoot an 806X1,000 to win their fourth straight crown.
- Omaha Creighton Prep Blue (Mitch Cassels, Ryan Glow, James Vasko, Nick Zuerlein, Mark Stockdale) and Republican Valley 4-H (Eli Van Boening, Shane Kohmetscher, Trenton Jordening, Blake Brumbaugh, Kelly Faimon) won the high overall team and high overall 4-H team titles, respectively.
- The high score of the day Saturday in the handicap was a 94X100 by Travis Agee of Lincoln Pius.
- Sophomore Aaron Lafler of Lincoln Pius shot a perfect 100 to take the individual crown in the 16-yard targets of the senior high division at the 42nd Cornhusker Trapshoot on Friday.
Interested in learning more or getting involved in this competitive sport? Contact Game and Parks for more information on learning how to shoot by visiting the Hunter Education web page
Pulley Problem Puts Park Workers on Top of a Panoramic View
In early March, the cable on the large flag pole at the Peter Kiewit Lodge at Mahoney State Park, was jammed at the top of the pole and could not be lowered to change the flag. In short time, it was apparent that they would need assistance from Heartland Crane and Rigging’s 70 ton, 200’ crane in order to repair the flag pole pulley.
Once the crane was enlisted, Mahoney State Park Grounds Leader, Jason Tonsfeldt, recruited Ryan Tasich from All Flags etc., an Omaha company, for additional manpower and a “crane bucket buddy” for the 185 feet. hoist up from the ground to the top of the flagpole. The two men completed their upward trek in a quest to repair the reluctant pulley at the top of the pole. After completing the last foot of the 185 foot lift, they opened up the assembly at the top and found both pulleys to be in good shape, but the cable still wouldn’t budge. After a couple of precarious efforts and jostling of other parts, the pair discovered that the pulleys were not turning properly, and the cable had gotten wedged in the grommet that kept it centered on the pulleys. A little lubrication applied in strategic places and the pulleys and cable sprang back into action. The two carried another key piece of equipment with them on their journey skyward, a camera. So thanks to a plugged pulley they came back with some spectacular panoramas of the park and the Platte river that we can share with you in a PHOTO GALLERY. Once safely back on terra firma, Jason and Ryan double checked the mechanics and found everything was working perfectly.
Gabe Collins of Nebraska City and Roxanne Hyland of Oakland-Craig had the high overall scores March 26 in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament.
Collins led all boys with 276 points and Hyland led the girls with 271.
The event at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln drew more than 400 elementary, middle school and high school archers from 17 schools. The sixth annual tournament, the largest youth archery event in the state, was the culminating event in the state for NASP, which is a physical education curriculum that has spread across the nation.
The top-scoring seniors, Chris Haase of Oakland-Craig at 265 points and Lupe Rodrigues of Nebraska City at 240, each earned a $600 Saunders Scholarship.
“The enthusiasm, sportsmanship and courtesy the archers, coaches and volunteers bring to this tournament every year is awesome,” Match Director Jim Tubbs said. “Being able to be part of this tournament from the beginning, with 165 archers to more than 400 this year and last, says a lot about the program.”
The state tournament was made possible by Game and Parks, Nebraska State Archery Association, Lincoln Prairie Bowmen Archery Club, Golden Arrow Archery Club of Omaha, Saunders Archery, and several volunteers.
All top-five individual finishers qualified for the national tournament, as well as the Lincoln North Star and Omaha Mater Dei Academy high school teams and Lincoln Pound middle school and elementary teams. �
[ Photo Gallery ]
For the seventh consecutive year, a pair of peregrine falcons have returned to an 18th floor nest box at the Nebraska State Capitol and settled in to incubate their eggs.
Game and Parks popular FALCON CAM gives peregrine fans streaming video of their day to day nest box habits and antics. FalconCam has monitored the falcons’ activities in the nest box since 2005. The peregrines quickly attracted the attention of people around the world who regularly visited the Game and Parks website to follow the unfolding events. The video stream is also available on a television in the Capitol rotunda at the Peregrine Falcon display right by the information desk.
Joel Jorgensen, Game and Parks nongame bird program manager, observed the pair mating and the subsequent eggs via the webcam. Upon physical inspection of the nest, Jorgensen confirmed the pair were tending three eggs. Jorgensen also remarked that the male, who was incubating the eggs, did not leave the nest during the nest check and remained over the eggs. Usually, the Peregrines will mob human visitors to the 18th floor. Jorgensen said the eggs are expected to hatch about the second week of May.
The male, with the leg band “19/K,” is the same male that has been at the Capitol since 2003. The identity of the female is not known at this time.
The Capitol Peregrine Falcons have successfully produced young in five of the last six years and the public has named the birds in an annual contest.
In 2005, the pair successfully raised one chick named “Pioneer.”
In 2006, three chicks fledged, Willa, Bess and Sterling.
In 2007, four chicks fledged, Boreas, Notus, Eurus, and Zephyrus
In 2008, the pair laid eggs but were unsuccessful in raising young.
In 2009 four fledglings left the nest, Nemaha, Niobrara, Calamus, and Platte .
In 2010, the pair fledged three chicks, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka.
If the pair successfully raises young again this year, the “Name the Chick” contest will be renewed.
For more information on the Peregrine Falcons, contact firstname.lastname@example.org�
Ken Salazar, U.S Secretary of the Interior, Visits the Rainwater Basin and Platte River
On March 14th, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, made a visit to Nebraska to tour the Rainwater Basin and the Platte River. The Secretary was accompanied by the acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Dan Ashe), and the Service’s Regional Director from Denver (Steve Guertin).
The first tour stop was at Funk Waterfowl Production Area, where the group took in the spectacle of thousands of pintails and other waterfowl, along with several bald eagles, using the wetlands. The group then traveled to Clark WPA, where the Secretary was able to see the results of a recent wetland restoration project and meet with a neighboring landowner (Steve Nelson) who participated in the project. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission helped to fund part of the work on Steve Nelson’s property through our WILD Nebraska program.
The tour concluded with a stop at Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary on the Platte River. Here the Secretary was joined by a number of Nebraska’s conservation partners and then was treated to an evening in one of the crane blinds. It was a gorgeous evening and the river soon filled with thousands of sandhill cranes as they returned to roost on the river. The Secretary even delayed his departure so he could keep watching the birds until it was completely dark. The Secretary truly seemed to enjoy his visit to Nebraska and was impressed by both our wildlife resources and by the cooperative spirit that is shared by our conservation partners.
Staff Conservation Leadership Program
The first Staff Conservation Leadership Program was held in late March in eastern Nebraska and was attended by eight staff members from various Divisions. The program, developed as part of the 20 Year RDR Plan, was designed to help staff that has a desire to learn about hunting, fishing, shooting sports, our model of conservation and various contemporary issues, provided participants with hands-on educational programs from fishing, shooting sports (archery and shotgun), turkey and deer hunting techniques, calling game, decoy use, North American Model of Conservation, contemporary fish and wildlife management issues, and information about how they can become more involved in helping further the goals of the RDR Plan.
The program culminated with a mentored hunt among the participants that was supported by several Game and Parks staff, volunteers and Director Amack. The program was a collaborative effort amongst several divisions within the Commission as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Staff evaluation indicated all enjoyed the program and plan to seek further enjoyment in the outdoors.
The 2011 annual State Campaign Against Hunger was a huge success at Game and Parks. We had more than 11,000 ounces of cleaning products and almost 800 ounces of food donated to the Food Bank of Lincoln! Additionally, we raised $587 in cash donations.
Employees had fun with scavenger hunts, clues and hidden dollars. Thank you to everyone that participated in donating, bidding on the auction and scavenger hunting. You really made this fun and successful.
For the second year, Game and Parks held a competition between Divisions (some divisions were teamed up). This friendly competition sparked more than 212,000 points with the biggest donation of 9,184 ounces of bleach from Administration. Overall the IT, Engineering and O&C team won with more than 68,000 points!
The Game and Parks Food Bank Champion trophy was presented to the winners. Pictured (left to right) Ann Sulek, Tiffani Gerber, Nathan Bereuter, Jake Miriovsky, Sudhir Ponnapan, Colin Carney, Jeff Broman, Toni Knust, Troy Kroeger, Tammy Crosby, Dennis Polk, and Chris Lemke.
This year, we would like a special thanks to go to Colleen Burden for her generous donation of a night at her beautiful Westview Bed & Breakfast. A silent auction was held for this special prize with proceeds donated to the food bank. The winner of this relaxing prize was Jana Cockerham. �
Kass is New Accounting Clerk in Permits
Please welcome Eli Kass as a new employee with Game and Parks. Eli’s first day was Monday April 11 in the Budget and Fiscal Permit Section. Eli has assumed the role of Accounting Clerk 1.
“I am originally from Omaha. I lived there until about 5 years ago when I moved to Lincoln to attend UNL. I enjoy playing sports outside, like football or basketball, as long as the weather is somewhat nice. I used to camp and fish with my family before I moved away, but now not so much. I’ve already learned a lot about the whole process of permits, but I would eventually like to be able to know more about prices, regulations, and such so I would actually be able to assist people when they need me. I think I will enjoy seeing how well I perform during the busy season and finding ways to complete my tasks more efficiently if I am unable to keep up.” Kass said.
Please stop in the Permit Section when you have time and introduce yourself.
Tim McCoy has been appointed the Division Administrator of the Wildlife Division. Tim previously worked in the Kearney District office as a District Supervisor and most recently as the Agricultural Program Manager in Wildlife’s Habitat Partner’s Section. Tim replaces Jim Douglas, the current Deputy Director of the agency.
Alicia Hardin has been appointed the Assistant Division Administrator of the Habitat Partners Section. Alicia previously served as the Assistant Division Administrator of the Administration Section. Alicia replaces Steve Riley who is currently working for Pheasants Forever, Inc.
Game and Parks Mourns the Loss of Ty Grafford
Our agency lost a great superintendent and Nebraska lost a great tree planter this spring. Tyrel “Ty” Grafford passed away on Sunday, April 17. Tyrell grew up in Keystone and at 16 began working for Game and Parks at Lake McConaughy. After graduating from Chadron State College in 2000 he began working at Enders SRA. Then in 2007, he was promoted to a Superintendent at Lake McConaughy SRA. Ty was an energetic man with a positive “get-er-done” attitude. Along with the endless duties he performed to manage the recreation areas at Lake Mac, Ty also found time to plant trees and shrubs. Ty will be missed very much by the Game and Parks family. �
APRIL 2011 SERVICE AWARDS
Tyrel Grafford, Parks, 4-2-11
Douglas Carroll, Information & Education, 4-9-11
Al Hastings, Fisheries, 4-5-11
Awards and Kudos
Pheasants Forever Vice President of Development David Bue, right, presents Game and Parks Director, Rex Amack, with an award recognizing the two organizations’ long history of partnership.
Game and Parks Board Chairman Mick Jensen, left, presents conservation officer Terry Brentzel of Doniphan a service award at the March 18 meeting of the Game and Parks board in Lincoln. Terry has taken on the duties as shoot director for the annual Cornhusker Trapshoot.
Game and Parks Commission Board Chairman Mick Jensen, left, presents conservation officer Russell Mort of Nebraska City a service award at the March 18 meeting of the Game and Parks board in Lincoln. Russell has been a key player in boating safety and Boating Under the Influence enforcement and adept at using side-scan sonar, which is used to help recover bodies.
Game and Parks Board Chairman Mick Jensen, left, presents Law Enforcement Division assistant administrator Craig Stover a service award at the March 18 meeting of the Game and Parks board in Lincoln. Craig is a former covert investigator and District V supervisor. Law Enforcement Administrator Ted Blume called Craig an outstanding resource and an “IT guru.”
What’s Coming Up at Game and Parks
The following is a listing of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission events and activities in May:
May 1 – Boater safety class, Wymore�
May 1 – Boater safety class, Crawford�
May 3 – Beyond BOW archery class, Platte River State Park (SP)�
May 3-4 – Outdoor Discovery Program, Scottsbluff�
May 6 – Beyond BOW fly-fishing class, Long Pine State Recreation Area (SRA)�
May 7 – Catfish Classic Tournament, Lake McConaughy SRA�
May 7 – Boater safety class, Lincoln�
May 7 – Boater safety class, Council Bluffs, Iowa�
May 7 – Boater safety class, Fremont�
May 7 – Boater safety class, Alliance�
May 8 – Mother’s Day Buffet, Fort Robinson SP�
May 8 – Mother’s Day Buffet, Ponca SP�
May 8 – Mother’s Day Buffet, Eugene T. Mahoney SP�
May 8 – Boater safety class, Kenesaw�
May 9-11 – Boater safety class, Bennington�
May 10 – Beyond BOW archery class, Platte River SP�
May 10-12 – Bow hunter education course, Valley�
May 12-13 – Outdoor Discovery Program, Fort Kearny SRA�
May 13 – Stargazing Party, Eugene T. Mahoney SP�
May 14 – Terry McCormick Memorial Walleye Tournament, Lake McConaughy SRA�
May 14 – Boater safety class, North Platte�
May 14 – Boater safety class, Fremont�
May 15 – Cabela’s Walleye Tournament, Lake McConaughy SRA�
May 15 – Boater safety class, Norfolk�
May 16 – Application period for some deer, antelope and elk permits begins�
May 17 – Boater safety class, Grand Island�
May 17 – Beyond BOW archery class, Platte River SP�
May 20-21 – Boater safety class, Scottsbluff�
May 21 – Western Nebraska Bass Tournament, Lake McConaughy SRA�
May 21 – Carp Tournament, Oliver Reservoir�
May 21 – Free Fishing and Park Entry Day, statewide�
May 21 – Becoming an Outdoors Family workshop, Platte River SP�
May 21 – Kids Fishing Day, Victoria Springs SRA�
May 21-22 – Shut Up and Fish Walleye Tournament, Lake McConaughy SRA�
May 21 – Boater safety class, Ogallala�
May 21 – Boater safety class, Papillion�
May 21 – Boater safety class, Beaver Lake�
May 21 – Boater safety class, Fremont�
May 22 – Boater safety class, Lincoln�
May 22 – Boater safety class, Broken Bow�
May 24 – Beyond BOW archery class, Platte River SP�
May 26 – Boater safety class, Thedford�
May 26 – Boater safety class, Grand Island�
May 27 – Niobrara SP, National Park Service program�
May 27 – Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners meeting, Ponca SP�
May 28 – Boater safety class, Ogallala�
May 28 – Post Playhouse Performance: Bald Mountain Rounders, Fort Robinson SP�
May 28 – Outdoor Education Program, Ponca SP�
May 28 – Buffalo Cookout and program, Niobrara SP�
May 28 – Guided horse trail rides begin, Niobrara SP�
May 28-30 – Living history demonstrations, Fort Kearny SRA�
May 28-29 – 2 Rivers Ride, Niobrara SP�
May 31 – Spring turkey season closes
For more details, visit http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/calendar/calendar.asp