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Author Archives: Justin Haag, Regional Editor/PIO

Justin Haag serves the Panhandle as a NEBRASKAland’s Regional Editor and Public Information Officer for the Commission. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing and hunting. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and enjoy introducing their two children to the many outdoor recreational opportunities of the Pine Ridge region.

Outdoor Cooking Program Set at Chadron State Park

Dutch oven

  The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has cooked up a program to help people improve their outdoor cuisine. The presentation, led by Commission outdoor education specialist Amanda Filipi, will be at the Chadron State Park Trading Post’s fire pit on Friday, July 25, at 5 p.m. Participants can expect to dine on a delicious meal after learning to cook it using techniques such as Dutch oven, foil and open fire. Filipi encourages people to sign up soon. The registration ... Read More »

Stir Fry at the Camp Site

Camp site stir fry

When it comes to eating at the campsite, our two kids are surely starting to learn: The way we dine is a lot different when their mom comes along. Their dad’s extent of camp cuisine usually involves some bread, packages of lunch meat, brats, and, of course, chips. There are fish to catch and sights to see, after all. When their mom comes along, we’re thankful it’s a different story. When Cricket’s camping, we often eat just as well or ... Read More »

Bighorn Sheep Tours Set for Wildcat Hills, Fort Robinson

Bighorn sheep tour

The public will have an opportunity to view the animals known to be the best rock climbers in western Nebraska’s butte country during morning hikes at two state parks in July. Group hikes to view the region’s wild bighorn sheep are scheduled for two consecutive Saturdays – July 12 at the Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area south of Gering and Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford on July 19. Hikers will meet at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center for the ... Read More »

Obstacle Course Making Debut at Chadron State Park

Disc golfer

Chadron State Park is introducing a new event to Chadron’s Fur Trade Days line-up. The Crooked Arrow Obstacle Course will challenge participants on a fun-filled route. The event will be Sunday, July 13, at 1 p.m. at the baseball field west of the park’s headquarters. It is open to participants of all ages, who can choose to race individually or in teams of two to four contestants. Gregg Galbraith, park superintendent, said each entry will be timed while dodging a ... Read More »

Western, wildlife art coming to Fort Robinson State Park

Art Show Photo

Beautiful scenes of the West will be on display at the 41st annual Western & Wildlife Art Show at Fort Robinson State Park. The show, a traditional part of Crawford’s annual Fourth of July celebration, will be Tuesday through Friday, July 1-4, at the park’s historic Veterinary Building. The work of 26 select artists from at least five states — featuring subjects such as landscapes, animals, ranchers, cowboys and Native Americans — will be available for viewing and purchase. The ... Read More »

Bird, Tomahawk Programs Set at Chadron State Park

Amanda Filipi and snake

Birds and tomahawks are the topics of a pair of nature programs at Chadron State Park this weekend. Amanda Filipi, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist, will lead a birding program at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 28. Following at 10:30 a.m., she will teach participants to throw a tomahawk “like a regular Daniel Boone.” Those participating in the birding program will learn about species’ adaptations, extensive migrations and unique field marks. They will also enjoy a short hike ... Read More »

Chadron State Park Celebration is Saturday

Sunrise at Chadron State Park. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

Nebraska’s first state park will celebrate its 93rd anniversary Saturday with a wide variety of activities for all ages. Activities are planned at Chadron State Park from early morning to late at night. “We have a lot of great activities planned for people young to old and expect to have big turnout for our celebration,” said Gregg Galbraith, park superintendent. “If you’re looking for a great way to have a lot of fun for not a lot of money, this ... Read More »

Buzzing about Bees: Pollinator Workshop Scheduled at Wildcat Hills

The critical role of pollinators will be addressed during a workshop at Wildcat Hills Nature Center.

A one-day workshop at the Wildcat Hills Nature Center south of Gering this month will explore the importance of pollinating insects to the world’s food supply and ecosystems. The Panhandle Pollinators Workshop will be Thursday, June 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is free to the first 25 registrants. A lunch will be provided. The deadline to register is Friday, June 13. While many know of bees as obvious pollinators, the workshop will discuss a variety of other ... Read More »

Saddle Up and Ride in the Panhandle

American Paint Horse Association members Ray Tucker and Ken Graves are at the head of this group riding up the Red Cloud Buttes at Fort Robinson State Park. (NEBRASKAland Magazine/Justin Haag)

Those looking to ride horses in a scenic area with wide open spaces will be hard-pressed to find better territory than the Panhandle of western Nebraska. Two state parks in Nebraska’s scenic Pine Ridge offer trail rides and riding is allowed on an abundance of other public land in this region of rugged buttes, sweeping grasslands and ponderosa pine forests. Visitors to Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford soon realize they’re in horse country. A sign at the entrance of ... Read More »

Nature Programs Continue at Chadron, Fort Robinson SPs

NGPC Logo

A series of nature programs continues this week at the two state parks in the northern Panhandle. Park naturalist Jami Campbell will lead eight family-friendly programs at Chadron State Park and Fort Robinson State Park on Thursday, June 5, through Saturday, June 7. The action will start at Chadron State Park’s Trading Post on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. with a program about snakes. At 5:30 p.m. she will tell about the tiniest creatures in the prairies and forests. The programming ... Read More »