Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lincoln, Nebraska's Pioneers Park - Bison Galore

Before heading out to Lincoln, Nebraska last week for a conference I attended, I heard a plethora of people tell me, "But what's in Nebraska?" It sounded like a challenge to me, so between seminars, I spent time researching and heading to a few of Lincoln's notable parks. I had a myth to unravel, are there any bison still left in Nebraska?

I spoke with a park ranger at Pioneers Park to find out. Most bison left in Nebraska are on ranches, with the specific purpose
to be used for meat (or possible for their milk). Unfortunately wild bison have left, and most reside in more northern states such as South Dakota. However, Pioneers Park is home to a bison sanctuary, and we were fortunate to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures by parking our car and walking only a couple hundred feet. The bison can be viewed in this manner, or by taking a hiking trail that leads around their enclosure; it may be up to a mile before they can be spotted (thus our luck).

The park is also home to elk, muskrats, various types of snakes, wood ducks, white tail deer and herons, making it a nature lovers paradise. Nature trails are carefully maintained and guarded in order to keep the animals safe and the humans from intruding on their natural habitat. Their staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and their interpretive center has impressive displays on local wildlife as well as a shop and other activities. The park is free to visit, though donations are always welcome.

Click here to learn more about Pioneers Park Nature Center and to visit their website.

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