Niobrara Valley Preserve From The Air

We arrived at the Niobrara Valley Preserve yesterday in pouring rain.  The road in from the south was nearly impassable and our data collection plans were scrapped for the day.  As evening neared, though, the rain started to let off, and just as the sun was nearing the horizon, it popped out from behind the clouds.  Suddenly, the entire Niobrara Valley was bathed in gorgeous golden light.  I scrambled to get the drone up into the air.

Looking downriver with the sun behind. Can you see Alex on the sandbar?
Facing the sun as it drops below the horizon.
The Nebraska Sandhills extend nearly forever south of the river (12 million acres of contiguous prairie). You can’t even see the entire 12,000 east bison pasture in this photo. The scale is just immense.
The Niobrara Valley Preserve headquarters is nestled between the Sandhills and the river. The campus now includes a couple new buildings, which will greatly help us improve visitor access and experiences.

The Niobrara Valley Preserve is already magical, but when you add that kind of evening light, it just becomes absolutely spectacular.  Below is a 30 second video showing more of a panorama view of just one small part of the 56,000 acre property.

Thank you to everyone who supports our conservation work, both at the Niobrara Valley Preserve and elsewhere around the state, country, and world.

Special thank you to the Nebraska Environmental Trust for funding this effort through a PIE (Public Information and Education) minigrant, administered through the Nebraska Academy of Sciences.

Photo of the Week – January 13, 2017

I’ve often said that Interstate 80 through Nebraska is a great population control mechanism for our state.  While I actually enjoy much of the scenery along the interstate, it’s particular route helps feed the widely held stereotype that Nebraska is a big flat state with nothing to see but corn and cows.  We certainly have lots of corn and cows, but if you take the time to explore beyond the interstate, you quickly see that Nebraska is anything but flat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting Nebraska as a place that you should move to.  In my personal opinion, we have plenty of people here already.  I happen to love that there are still large areas of the state where I can drive for miles without ever seeing another human being.  I’m sure that’s not a universally-held opinion among our tourism board or chambers of commerce, but that’s how I feel.  I’m going to show you a few photos of a non-flat Nebraska today, but please don’t take those as a personal invitation to move to our state.  I guess you could come visit, but you’ll be much happier living in your own state.

The Blue Creek valley in Garden County.
The Blue Creek valley in Garden County.
Fort Robinson State Park in the Pine Ridge of northwest Nebraska.
Fort Robinson State Park in the Pine Ridge of northwest Nebraska.
The Wildcat Hills of the Nebraska panhandle.
The Wildcat Hills of the Nebraska panhandle.
The Niobrara River. Cherry County.
The Niobrara River. Cherry County.

Anyway, I bet your state is really pretty too.  You should live there.  Thanks.