Nebraskaland May 2019

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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24 Nebraskaland • May 2019 picturesque WMAs in the Wildcat Hills, or ascending the majestic Cheyenne and Red Cloud buttes at Fort Robinson. If the Nebraska Game and Parks properties are not enough, public lands managed by other agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service in the northern Panhandle and the Platte River Basin Environments to the south, make riders' opportunities seemingly limitless and are certainly not to be overlooked. The Pine Ridge Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest consists of 52,000 acres and a 6,600-acre National Recreation Area. The 7,794 acres of Soldier Creek Wilderness near Fort Robinson State Park is another prime destination for horseback riders. Not only does it provide the wild experience many horseback riders seek, but it also has corrals at its trailhead. Because equipment used for mechanical transport, including bicycles and game carts, is prohibited at this destination, horses regain popularity as vehicle of choice. Even the Game and Parks' fi sheries biologists resort to horse and mule while surveying the two trout streams that fl ow through the property. Other Forest Service access points that have special amenities for horseback riders are the Outrider Trailhead near Chadron State Park and the Roberts Tract Trailhead and Campground south of Whitney. Each of these has corrals and a mounting ramp, while Roberts has a modern vault toilet, a hand water pump and picnic tables. The expansive Oglala National Grassland which borders South Dakota, also managed by the Forest Service, provides a change-up of scenery and is equally captivating. Contacting the agency headquarters for whatever land you are visiting will help you plan your riding and answer any questions about regulations and attractions. For instance, riders should know that any feed brought into Forest Service properties must be certifi ed free of noxious weeds and weed seeds. Beyond that, visitors will be hard-pressed to fi nd a better dose of freedom on this rough terrain than that provided by the four-legged animal that has been such an important part of the region's history. To experience the Panhandle at its best, the fi nest seat may be a saddle. ABOVE LEFT: A horse stands ready for the annual round-up of longhorns at Fort Robinson State Park. ABOVE RIGHT: Visitors enjoy a trail ride at Chadron State Park in Dawes County. BOTTOM LEFT: Outfi tter Casey Cary of Powell, Wyoming, leads a packhorse with survey equipment along the south fork of Soldier Creek. The equipment was used by Commission fi sheries staff to survey the remote trout stream.

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