[ Renovation Photo Gallery ]
The Nemaha Natural Resources District (NRRD) celebrated the grand re-opening of Iron Horse Trail Lake on June 25. Deputy Director Jim Douglas represented the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, which was a partner in the $2.2 million lake restoration project.
The Nemaha NRD conducted a tour of the site for project partners, which also included the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Nebraska Environmental Trust. Cub Scouts served a lunch and NRD staff led a nature hike. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was preceded by a program in which partner representatives and state Sen. Lavon Heidemann briefly spoke about the project.
Iron Horse Trail Lake, opened in 1985, is located a half-mile north and 2 miles west of DuBois in Pawnee County. The recreation area is 360 acres and the lake is 85 acres.
Lake renovations began in 2009 with tree clearing, sediment removal and construction of sediment traps. Many jetties and small grade-control structures were built to control water coming into the lake and prevent shoreline erosion. Some jetties and angler access spots were built to provide better fishing access from the shore. Game and Parks earlier this year stocked the lake with walleye, bluegill and largemouth bass, although catchable size on those fish won’t be reached for two years. The lake, when it refills, will offer no-wake boating and an excellent setting for canoes and kayaks.
Other improvements include the addition of 11 electrical RV camping pads, a boat mooring island near the beach, a new primitive tent and RV camping area, handicapped-accessible fishing pier, trails connecting various areas around the lake, and an improved beach with weed-control barrier.
NEBRASKAland Magazine received three awards in July at the annual Association for Conservation Information (ACI) conference in Cincinnati.
NEBRASKAland regional editor Eric Fowler won first place in the Magazine Fisheries Article competition with “Nebraska’s Paddlefish: Prehistoric Species Persisting in Missouri River.” Fowler also took third place in the Magazine Wildlife Article competition with “Return to the Plains: Elk Comeback Not Yet Finished.”
Bob Grier, the magazine’s recently retired regional editor for western Nebraska, also won a first place in the general-interest magazine article category for his “Grassland Color” piece that appeared last year in the magazine.
ACI is a nonprofit association of information and education professionals representing state, federal and Canadian agencies and private conservation organizations. It was organized in 1938 and its members play a major role in providing natural resource, environmental, wildlife and other information and education to the public through a variety of means. Scott Bonertz , Game and Parks Public Information Manager, was also elected to a three-year term on the ACI’s board of directors.
Sixth Annual Carp-O-Rama A Success!
[View the Photo Gallery ] At 6:30 the morning of Carp-O-Rama, we considered cancelling due to the heavy rain the night before and heavy rain in the forecast. As we considered our options, a young boy came up from the lake carrying a large carp that he had just caught. He and his family had arrived before light, and had started fishing in the rain. Canceling was clearly not an option.
Despite heavy rains the night before and a forecast that called for rain all morning Carp-O-Rama 2011 drew more than 700 people at Pawnee Lake State Recreation Area. By 8 a.m. the crowds started to show up and the sky began to clear. During the next five hours we cooked more than 100 pounds of fish, cleaned dozens of carp, served plates full of fish, gallons of coleslaw and a delicious Dutch oven desert, distributed countless cans of corn and lots of dough bait, loaned out dozens of fishing rods, printed hundreds of bandanas with carp images, told fish stories (some true), and gave away more than 65 fishing rods to future anglers.
<< Here’s a helpful video on “How to Clean and Score Carp” - Click on the image to the left to go to NGPC’s YouTube channel – if you haven’t subscribed yet sign up to be notified about all the latest videos posted.
7th Annual MISSOURI RIVER OUTDOOR EXPO - Ponca State Park
Sept. 17-18, 2011 – Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Start planning now for the “can’t miss” event of the summer where lovers of the great outdoors come together to enjoy some serious outdoor recreation. Get a grip on some of the hands-on opportunities in outdoor skills, ethics, safety, respect and stewardship of our natural resources. Explore area outdoor products, art, organizations and more.
Matt Stutzsman is a talented individual whose attitude should be an inspiration to all. Stutzsman was born without arms. And despite all the challenges, he managed to adapt and do everything on his own using his legs and feet. Stutzman recently qualified from the U.S. Olympic team in archery.
Matt will perform three shows a day at the Expo and also attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Records for the most accurate and longest range archery shot attempting to shoot a balloon at over 220 yards on Sat., Sept. 17. See more about about Matt at his website inspirationalarcher.com
Don’t miss out on all the activities, read more >> on the web site.
For more information about the Expo, contact: Andrea Johansen – Missouri River Outdoor Expo Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
“Stay and Play” Deal Offers Some Time on the Greens and a Quiet Getaway in the Comfort of a Mini-Lodge
Why not plan a get together for family or friends and enjoy a two-night golf getaway at beautiful Ponca State Park. Stay in one of the new mini-lodges with four bedrooms, fully-equipped kitchens, a large great room and dining areas. Enjoy unlimited golf both days of your stay at the beautiful Highland Oaks Golf Course adjacent to the park.
Packages are available for a couple or up to four couples sharing one mini-lodge. Prices include lodging, green fees & cart and unlimited golf & driving range use for two days. For more information on Highland Oaks Golf Course go to highlandoaksgolf.com or call 402-755-4222 to schedule tee times.
Couples Stay & Play Golf Package available from Aug. 22 – Oct. 28 from Sunday-Thursday nights. For more information on pricing and other details visit the web page | For more information on the park visit the park page | View the Mini-Lodges Photo Gallery | View Ponca YouTube Video |
Bowring Ranch’s Sod House Sunday Events
The original plans for “Sod House Sunday” at Bowring Ranch called for the events to unfold on June 26. But intermittent rain kept the attendees scurrying for cover. Major storms had rolled in the day before and continued throughout the night. The afternoon events and activities had to be canceled and rescheduled for Sunday, July 10. Regardless of the weather conditions and rescheduled time slot, 60 people arrived for the Praise and Worship sing-along in the morning.
The concession stand vendors arrived early with their food prepared and ready to share as well. At lunch time on Saturday the power went out. Candles were gathered up and kerosene lamps placed on tables at the Visitor Center. The remaining guests purchased their lunch at the concession stand and came back to the Visitor Center to dine by candle light.
Later in the afternoon, with the power still out, musicians began to arrive with acoustic instruments to perform for the guests. Fourteen musicians entertained until the sun went down.
The rescheduled “Sod House Sunday” took place on July 10. Once again staff prepared the grounds, reset picnic tables with umbrellas for shade; prepared the concession stand, put up awnings for the silent auction items and sprayed for bugs.
The cattle were rounded up early in the morning and herded into the arena mid morning. The recently re-roofed shelter with a new floor was a huge success. The all-day concession stand was besieged by hungry cowboys and cowgirls. By 12:30 p.m. the Bowring Ranch had enough contestants to form 16 teams for the Team Penning event. The festivities for the rest of the events went on without a hitch and the Bowring Ranch had one more successful “Sod House Sunday.”
Fort Robinson Activities Start with “Riding the Ridge”
Summer activities at Fort Robinson began July 2, with more than 100 riders making the trek through Fort Robinson State Park during the annual “Ride the Ridge.” Riders traversed the old Sidney to Deadwood Trail starting at Belmont, located 13 miles from Fort Robinson. The second stage of the ride started July 3, with riders leaving the Fort and heading into nearby Crawford. Among the many riders were also teams of horses.
Following the parade Fort Robinson played host to more than 280 guests at the annual Fourth of July BBQ held on the west lawn of the lodge. Overall the staff at Fort Robinson served 1,000 meals to their guests on the holiday. Attendance at the annual Western Art Show was one of the largest crowds yet for this holiday.
Also showing off their talents at one of the Sunday night rodeos was a horse group from Cheyenne, Wyoming, named “The Trotters”. This group of talented ladies and one gentleman visit Fort Robinson every year and enjoy displaying their expertise for the guests at Fort Robinson.
Fort Robinson was also the stage for young “Vaulters” who had attended the America Vaulting Association’s Vaulter’s Camp at Fort Robinson. Equestrian vaulting, also known as Voltig, is most often described as gymnastics and dance on horseback. Enrolled Students spent six hours in daily instruction on both the vaulting barrel and the horse in addition to individual practice time. Considerable “in the saddle” time combined with dance, performance, horsemanship, fitness and conditioning classes gave all levels of vaulters an entertaining and educational intensive week of training.
Park attendees made good use of the pool, spent their time on biking and hiking trails, horseback riding, making crafts, watching the rodeo, taking hayrides, and filling up on the chuck wagon dinner for a complete, authentic Western experience, provided by Fort Robinson.
Alvo Man Wins Nebraska Super Tag Lottery
Chris Rounds of Alvo was disappointed when he did not draw an elk permit this year. As it turns out, he will get to go elk hunting after all. He won the Nebraska Super Tag Lottery multi-species permit on Friday.
The permit is valid for hunting in 2011 and 2012 and has a bag limit of one elk, one deer, one pronghorn antelope and two turkeys.
“That’s awesome,” said Rounds, 44. “I never thought I’d win something like this. I didn’t draw an elk tag this year and I was kind of bummed out. Now I’ll get to go.”
The permit allows Rounds to hunt with any legal weapon in any open hunting unit during the general hunting season for each species.
“I’m going to take some of my hunting buddies,” Rounds said. “They’ll love to go along and help scout.”
Rounds’ name was drawn at the July 29 meeting of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners. Leo Benes of Firth, winner of last year’s inaugural Super Tag Lottery, drew Rounds’ name.
Rounds was one of 2,081 applicants who paid $25 to enter the lottery, which is only available to Nebraska residents. Hunters who had drawn once-in-a-lifetime bull elk tags also were eligible.
Legacy Education in Environmental Discovery
LEED ( Legacy Education in Environmental Discovery), went off without a hitch, even with flooding, June 21-23 at Niobrara State Park. There were 21 participants at the Environmental Education workshop held in the Bazille-Verdegris BUL, which was also offered for credit through Wayne State College. Participant diversity ranged from elementary teachers and high school agricultural, art, science, and business teachers to UNL extension and college students. All participants were certified in Project WILD, Growing Up WILD and The Leopold Education Project. Richard Louv’s ‘Last Child in the Woods’ was used as a tool for discussion, knowledge and understanding. Participants experienced first hand the beautiful educational resources right out their back door. They went birding, kayaking and hiking. They did a bird count, collected macro-invertebrates, experienced a piece of virgin prairie and much more. Feedback from the participants has been positive. There is much interest in doing this again.
Many people gave a helping hand in this effort, private lands biologists, conservation 0fficers, coordinating wildlife biologists, botanists, Farm Bill biologists, educators, professors from our local state college and the hard working folks at Niobrara State Park. It was definitely a group effort. None of this could have happened if it were not for the National Wild Turkey Federation and their monetary support for Environmental Education in our state.
Nebraska also hosted the Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Region Joint Venture Management Board meeting in Nebraska City. This joint venture sponsors a variety of habitat projects and activities for the benefit of migratory birds throughout the upper Midwest. Management Section staff constructed pheasant holding pens on six wildlife management areas this month. Experimental pheasant releases will be conducted on these areas in order to improve youth hunting success. Staff will monitor harvest of pheasants during the youth hunting season to determine which of two release methods are more successful. Interested in more information on this topic? Visit the Nebraska Focus on Pheasants web page.
Five-Year Revision Plan Complete for Nebraska Natural Legacy Project
Wildlife staff completed the five-year revision of the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project . Originally published in 2005, the Legacy Project has been our blueprint for conserving Nebraska’s at-risk species and has been widely used by many conservation organizations across the state. The new edition reflects comments from a wide range of professionals, organizations, and citizens that were contacted through public meetings, expert workshops, and other venues. After final approval by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, both bound and electronic versions of the new edition will be available to interested staff and the public.
Nebraska Legacy Project newsletter is also now available on facebook, twitter, and online at http://bit.ly/CLHSpring2011 If you have a facebook account and would like to follow Nebraska Natural Legacy Project updates, login and search “Nebraska Natural Legacy Project” and click “Like.” You can also find us on twitter as NENaturalLegacy
Fourth Annual Rangeland Management Workshop – Public Encouraged to Attend
The Rangeland Management workshop will be held on Thursday, Aug. 18 at Pressey Wildlife Management Area (4 miles north and 1 mile west of Oconto). The 2011 Rangeland Management Workshop is free of charge and includes a free catered lunch. The slate of events lined up for this year’s workshop includes:
- Patch Burning Program. Pressey Wildlife Management Area is one of the few places in central Nebraska where patch burning is being practiced. Following a prescribed fire this spring, GPS collars were fitted on two cows in the grazing herd. The information from these GPS collars will be unveiled during this workshop. During the workshop we will examine the movements made by these cows during the grazing season.
- Tree Removal Contractor Exposition. Come and see several area tree removal contractors demonstrating a variety of equipment at the workshop. This will give you a chance to observe the techniques, service and capacity of your projects next tree removal contractor.
- Range Management Presentations. We feel fortunate to have some great speakers lined up for this years workshop to discuss everything from latest range management research to conservation programs available for range project assistance.
- Plant Identification. We will be identifying several plants at Pressey WMA and discussing their value to wildlife, grazing systems and biodiversity of the central loess hills area.
The 2011 Rangeland Management Workshop is a cooperative effort between the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, Pheasants Forever, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Environmental Trust, University of Nebraska, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The event is open to the public. If you would like to attend the 2011 Rangeland Management Workshop, please register by calling/emailing Ben Wheeler (phone 308-728-3244) Coordinating Wildlife Biologist or register online at NebraskaPF.com
Download the event flyer
EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
Tally on Hunter Education Programs
Hunter Education staff have been busy this summer. Tallys indictate that they have held 133 total events for the program, have trained 2187 students, 66 apprentice instructors were trained 22 new instructors have gone on to be certified that were trained in 2010/2011.
Bow – 29 events have certified 347 students. These events were offered by 74 volunteer instructors who have donated 856 hours valued at $17,976.
There have been 26 classes, 3 field days. 18 of the 29 events have offered live fire.
Firearm – 104 total events have certified 1840 students. These events were offered by 323 volunteer instructors who have donated 3941 hours valued at $82,761.
There have been 95 classes, 9 field days. 26 of the 95 events have offered live fire.
Beyond BOW Workshops
A series of muzzleloader workshops were held for women as part of the Beyond Becoming an Outdoors Woman effort where women receive advanced educational opportunities in specific areas. The workshop, attended by seven women, helped students learn about various types of muzzleloaders including caplock, flintlock and in-line ignitions systems, firearms safety, and plenty of shooting opportunities to hone their newly learned skills. The program was held at the new shooting facility at Platte River State Park.
Cornhusker State Games Archery Entrant Numbers Double from Last Years
Archery is alive and well in Nebraska as evident by the 2011 Cornhusker State Games where over 200 archers from across Nebraska competed for state titles. Another interesting trend is the number of youth participating not only in the standard target competition but also the National Archery in the Schools Division held at the State Games each year which continues to double in participation over the last three years. The archery competition has been held annually at the Lincoln Archery Range in Boosalis Park, developed under a partnership with the city of Lincoln.
Game and Parks supported four Youth Outdoor Skills Camps reaching over 200 Nebraska youth providing education in hunting, fishing, shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader or archery shooting sports, wildlife ecology and more. The camps are partnerships with Nebraska 4H and local private camps around the state. The camps provide youth with quality hands-on instruction in efforts to increase student knowledge, skills and abilities in outdoor pursuits and safety. For additional information on other opportunities like these visiti the Outdoor Discovery Program web page
Recently the Hunter Education Program selected and implemented a new system application to better manage the program with an event manager web based tool. The event manager will eventually include all volunteer instructors who will access this tool to advertise their events and allow students to find and register for classes in their areas with greater ease. This new program is designed to make the volunteer’s job easier, allow the public to have better access to classes and Hunter Education resources, while increasing administrative efficiencies and money saving measures.
Visit huntsafenebraska.org to view all the new features and sign up for classes, register to be notified by e-mail of newly listed classes, search for instructors in each county, view hunter requirements, link to the hunter education Facebook page and search for program graduates. Users also can download a duplicate certificate of completion, find a list of shooting ranges, download shooting targets, and find a list of training sessions, skills workshops and shooting opportunities. Recent graduates registered on the new system can use the new tool to download their certificates. �
Dedicated Hunter Education Instructors Honored
To honor their 30 years of service as Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors, Heather Weihe of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission presented Rod Kolsrud and Merlin Rapp with awards at the Volunteer Hunter and Bowhunter Education Training held in Ogallala in June. Rod Kolsrud from Ogallala was certified to teach in the Program in 1980 and has taught Hunter Education for 31 years. Merlin Rapp from Paxton was certified in 1976 and has taught Hunter Education for 30 years.
Visit www.huntsafenebraska.org to get involved.
Volunteers Pitch In for Lake McConaughy Clean Up
The second annual Lake McConaughy cleanup nearly doubled its number of volunteers Sat. July 9. Water enthusiasts use the lake to camp, boat and swim, but sometimes forget to use the trash receptacles.
Forty-five volunteers helped clear trash around campgrounds and beaches around the lake for the cleanup. All had similar reasons for joining the effort. Volunteer Russchelle Dehning said, “My main importance was for my children and just to get the kids to realize what picking up our earth is about and making sure they continue to keep things clean so we don’t have trash all over our community and the places we want to come and enjoy.”
The crews filled four truckloads of trash Saturday at the clean-up. Volunteers suggested visitors bring a trash bag while camping to avoid excess trash at campsites. Sutton adds, “Nobody wants to go to a place where there’s trash everywhere and it’s dirty so to keep visitors up and people coming back, it’s got to stay clean.” �
Game and Parks Seeks Information on Vandalism
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking information about vandalism at an Open Fields and Waters program site.
An outhouse, fence and a fire ring belonging to the landowner enrolled in the walk-in hunting and fish access program recently were vandalized. The site is north of Unadilla in Otoe County.
“This area offers a wonderful fishing opportunity,” Game and Parks wildlife biologist Jeff Blaser said. “This vandalism does not reflect the respect the public has for the Open Fields and Waters sites in general. We are making every effort to find those who are responsible for the damage. Game and Parks is committed to working with landowners in providing public walk-in hunting and fishing access in Nebraska.”
The Open Fields and Waters program, through contracts with landowners, opens private land to public hunting and fishing access in Nebraska.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crimestoppers at 800-742-7627, conservation officer Russ Mort at 402-209-1506 or the Otoe County Sheriff’s Office at 402-873-9560.
Agricultural Program Manager Position Filled
Eric Zach has been hired to fill the Agricultural Program Manager position, recently held by Tim McCoy. Eric will concentrate on monitoring the Farm Bill and associated programs that might impact wildlife resources in Nebraska. Eric comes from Nebraska Departmentof Revenue (DOR)where he was a biologist specializing in T&E consultations. Prior to this, Eric worked as a biologist at Grove Lake WMA and Meridian WMA. He served as a Farm Bill Biologist in Oshkosh, with Wildlife Services/APHIS in Lincoln and worked as a temporary on northeast Nebraska wildlife management areas.
Game and Parks Employee and Supervisor of the Year Announced
“Carly has designed our office to be more people friendly as they walk into the Personnel Office with questions. Carly is always up for a challenge in creating or updating forms and formulas for vital reports. She trains co-workers with many computer issues, completing employment application on-line as those who call to learn how. Carly volunteers in many ways including, but not limited to State Park Expos teaching children camping skills, Food drives and she serves as wellness coordinator for biometric screenings in our building. Carly is an asset wherever she goes.” – Jana Cockerham. �
Duane Arp Named Supervisor of the Year “Duane has been the Law Enforcement Supervisor for southeast Nebraska for the past seven years. Prior to that he served as a Conservation Officer in Douglas County. Duane has never forgotten where he came from, and does an excellent job of leading by example. He recently led an effort to recover a young drowning victim, getting the initial call on Sunday night (Mothers Day) and not recovering the victim until Friday around noon. Duane was there every step of the way with his crew, not asking them to do any more than he would, and in some cases maybe not as much as he was doing. He is an extremely positive supervisor with a glass that is always at least half full, which has a positive impact on the people who serve under him. Duane is proud and does an outstanding job of representing the Game and Parks Commission and the State of Nebraska.” - Mike Luben �
August Outdoor Calendar
The following is a listing of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission events in August:
Aug. 1 – Registration for Harvest Information Program begins
Aug. 1 – Squirrel hunting season opens
Aug. 1 – First day requests accepted for special grouse hunting permits
Aug. 1, 2, 4, 6 – Bow hunter education class, Fremont
Aug. 1, 3, 4 – Firearm hunter education class, Valentine
Aug. 2 – Family Fishing Night, Bowling Lake, Lincoln
Aug. 3 – Family Fishing Night, Walnut Creek Reservoir, Papillion
Aug. 3-6 – Firearm hunter education class, Nelson
Aug. 4-5 – Boating safety class, Hastings
Aug. 5 – Final day for bighorn sheep permit applications
Aug. 6 – Buffalo Cookout and Program, Niobrara State Park (SP)
Aug. 6 – Boating safety class, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Aug. 6 – Boating safety class, Waterloo
Aug. 6 – Fishing clinic, Eugene T. Mahoney SP
Aug. 6-7 – Living History, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (SHP)
Aug. 6-7 – Bow hunter education class, Alliance
Aug. 8 – Fall turkey hunting permits available for sale
Aug. 8-12 – Firearm hunter education class, North Platte
Aug. 8, 9, 11 – Bow hunter education class, Kearney
Aug. 8, 10, 15, 17 – Firearm hunter education class, Lindsay
Aug. 9 – Family Fishing Night, Yanney Lake, Kearney
Aug. 10 – Family Fishing Night, Interstate 80 Lake, North Platte
Aug. 10-13 – Firearm hunter education class, Bayard
Aug. 11 – Family Fishing Night, Mormon Island Lake No. 2, Grand Island
Aug. 11-13 – Firearm hunter education class, Broken Bow
Aug. 11-13 – Bow hunter education class, Central City
Aug. 12-13 – Boating safety class, Fremont
Aug. 13 – Shooting Sports Skill Day Camp, Ponca SP
Aug. 13 – Boating safety class, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (SRA)
Aug. 13 – Birds of the Wildcat Hills hike, Wildcat Hills Nature Center
Aug. 13 – Raptors of the Wildcat Hills workshop, Wildcat Hills Nature Center
Aug. 14, 17, 20-21 – Bow hunter education class, Lincoln
Aug. 15 – Family Fishing Night, Holmes Lake, Lincoln
Aug. 15 – Elk season opens in Boyd Unit
Aug. 15 – Bullfrog season opens
Aug. 16 – Family Fishing Night, Halleck Park Lake, Papillion
Aug. 17, 24, 31 – Firearm hunter education class, Omaha
Aug. 19 – Stargazing party, Eugene T. Mahoney SP
Aug. 20 – Archery pronghorn antelope season begins
Aug. 20-21 – Bow hunter education class, Sidney
Aug. 22, 25, 27, 29 – Firearm hunter education class, Oshkosh
Aug. 22, 23, 25, 27, 29 – Bow hunter education class, Pender
Aug. 23, 25, 27 – Firearm hunter education class, Atkinson
Aug. 23, 25, 30, Sept. 1, 3 – Bow hunter education class, Elba
Aug. 23, 25, 30, Sept. 1, 3 – Firearm hunter education class, Elba
Aug. 24-26 – Firearm hunter education class, O’Neill
Aug. 26-27 – Boating safety class, Scottsbluff
Aug. 26-27 – Bow hunter education class, Ponca
Aug. 26-27 – Firearm hunter education class, Auburn
Aug. 27-28 – Midwest Catfish Classic, Calamus SRA
Aug. 27-28 – Bow hunter education class, Imperial
Aug. 27, Sept. 3-4 – Firearm hunter education class, Craig
Aug. 30 – Nebraska Game and Parks Board of Commissioners meeting, McCook
Aug. 30 – Bighorn sheep lottery permit draw
For more information, visit the OutdoorNebraska.org calendar at http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/calendar/calendar.asp. For the most up-to-date schedule of hunter education classes and to receive e-mail notifications, visit HuntSafeNebraska.org.