OUTDOOR NEBRASKAPublished by Department of Agriculture Bureau of Game and Fish Lincoln, Nebraska Vol. 1 October, 1926 No. 3
THE BIRDS OF KILLINGWORTH"Think of your woods and orchards without birds! Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams As in an idiot's brain remembered words Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams! Will bleat of flocks or bellowing of herds Make up for the lost music, when your teams Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more The feathered gleaners follow to your door? What! would you rather see the incessant stir Of insects in the windrows of the hay, And hear the locust and the grasshopper Their melancholly hurdy-gurdies play? Is this more pleasant to you than the whir Of meadow-lark, and her sweet roundelay, Or twitter of little field-fares, as you take Your nooning in the shade of bush and brake? You call them thieves and pillagers; but know, They are the winged wardens of your farms, Who from the cornfields drive the insidious foe, And from your harvests keep a hundred harms; Even the blackest of them all, the crow, Renders good service as your man-at-arms, Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, And crying havoc on the slug and snail." —Longfellow
OUTDOOR NEBRASKAOFFICIAL BULLETIN NEBRASKA BUREAU GAME AND FISH VOL. I. OCTOBER, 1926 NO. 3 CONTENTS The Last of a Great Race Frontispiece Nebraska State Parks, by C. C Wiggens 3 The Nebraska Game Reserve, by Dr. G. E. Condra 4 Nebraska's Oldest Hatchery, by W. E. Wells 5 Editorial 6 Wallgreen Lake Under Development 8 Two Reasons Why Fish and Game Disappearing 9 Nebraska "Ikes'' Hold Convention 10 Sioux County Park Area, by G. H. Nichols 11 Department Activities 12 Notes on Fins, Feathers and Furs 13
Do You Know
That Nebraska is one of the best bass fishing states.
That Nebraska contains half of all the prairie chickens that are left in America.
That Nebraska has streams, lakes, scenery and recreation grounds that compare favorably with other states.
That Nebraska fish and game cost the tax-payers nothing, but is wholly supported by fishermen and hunters.
Nebraska Elk on the Federal Reserve at Valentine. At one time Nebraska was the favorite haunt of the Elk and thousands roamed over the prairies.
Nebraska State ParksBy C. C. WIGGINS, Secretary, State Park Board
THE state park movement in Nebraska is a new one relatively when such activities in this state are compared with park developments in nearby states to the north and west. There are several reasons why this is so—first our state is comparatively young and the needs for recreation purposes have not been great because of the large amount of wild areas available. As a second reason should be placed the lack of funds available for either the purchase or maintenance of properties of such scenic, historic or scientific interest as to be of value for state parks. Lastly Nebraskans have not been awake to the value of parks as a state asset. The general public has lacked the vision to see the possibilities which might come through a system of state parks and has thus permitted neighboring states to get a lead in such work. In some of these states the parks have been made self supporting—largely by the money paid over by Nebraskans and others for the privilege of camping or fishing there. We have been too willing to let the other fellow make all the plans and now we can see where he is reaping benefits from his fore-sightedness.
Regardless of the fact that Nebraska has been slow in getting such work under way yet progress has been made, foundations have been laid and if present development continues in future years Nebraska will have ample facilities for entertaining its own people and visitors from other states as well.
The state park movement in this-state is now less than eight years old. In 1919 upon the insistence of J. W. Good, then senator from Dawes County, the State Legislature set aside a school section, in the Pine Ridge region about nine miles south of Chadron to be used for park purposes. Since the land already belonged to the state no cost was involved in such a proceeding but a very desirable park site was secured. It was of small value for farm purposes beyond that of grazing but with its virgin timber, canyons, rocks, etc., it was an attractive place and had been used more or less for park purposes for years. However, no provision was made for its maintenance and likewise no improvements could be made.
For the next two years Nebraska was confronted with the situation of having a state park but with no organized state agency to care for it. Possibly this was not a serious oversight at that time because no developments could be made. However, the Legislature of 1921 corrected this situation by establishing the State Park Board with(Continued on Page Fifteen)
General View of CHADRON STATE PARK
Wild Life Resources and Their Preservation No. II—The Nebraska Game ReserveBy Dr. G. E. Condra Director Conservation and Survey Division, University of Nebraska
QUITE early in the development of northern Nebraska a Federal fort was established along the Niobrara about four miles east of Valentine. This fort served its time and purpose and was abandoned. Most of the buildings reached the tumble-down stage. The problem arose as to what to do with the land. Should it be sold for ranching and farming, thrown open for public entry, or be retained by the government for some new purpose?
Part of the fort land was set aside as a Federal game reserve, a superintendent or caretaker was appointed and the work of making over the place for its new use began. A house was repaired a little to serve as the home and office of the caretaker and the fencing of lots and pasture was done.
Buffalo and elk were secured from the Gilbert herd at Friend in 1913—eight buffalo and thirteen elk. Also, two buffalo bulls were brought down from the Yellowstone. The animals were kept in enclosures on the old fort ground south of the river where they did not multiply very rapidly. Finally, a pasture of about 6000 acres was blocked out north of the river and enclosed with a strong woven wire fence, making a total area of about 14,000 acres for the reserve. In this big pasture the animals have nearly ideal surroundings. It is rough to nearly smooth, cut across by four deep canyons in which are spring-fed streams fringed by pines, oaks, willows, cottonwood and a few paper birch. There is plenty of space, grass, good water and shade. The animals are increasing in number. This year there were 14 buffalo calves and 22 elk calves. Four buffalo and twelve elk have been sold from the reserve and there are now 70 buffalo and 92 elk.
Deer have not done well on the reserve. Probably two or three animals remain in one of the small forested areas on the old tract south of the river. Coyotes get the deer and the same can be said of very young antelope.
Year before last ten baby antelope were brought to the reserve from Idaho, and placed in the pasture just north of the superintendent's house. They are now grown and are Mr. Dille's pets. The antelope herd is holding its own.
When the reserve was first established some attempt was made to propagate pheasants and a few other birds, but this was soon discontinued, probably because the state is doing this work.
There is a small flock of wild turkeys on the reserve from birds received from Oklahoma. These birds are only half wild. They range along the rough forested land bordering the river and sometimes show up at the ranches and farms for feed.
The Niobrara reserve is making progress in conserving three of nature's best mammals, antelope, elk and buffalo. These animals, which formerly roamed Nebraska in great numbers, were almost doomed for extinction.
We have on the reserve the opportunity to observe and study these animals and should become acquainted with their histor yand habits. The antelope is a product of the plains, of the great open spaces. It is timid, curious, beautiful and fleet. It does not run; it simply sails!
The elk likes both prairie and forest. It has keen sight, strong limbs and beautiful carriage. On the reserve they range as three bands, each under the protection, care and guidance of a seven-point buck. I saw one of these bands on a high grass-covered knoll bordered by trees. It was a beautiful, orderly moving picture!
The buffalo is healthy, rugged and fearless. He fights for leadership. Nature gave him resistance to disease and protection against heat, cold and insects. I sat in a car (because it was not safe on foot) and observed the buffalo on the reserve while Mr. Dille told me about their habits. There was not a house or other form of improvement in sight. Here was a herd of buffalo, a scene of the past made possible through conservation.
Buffalo on the Federal Reserve at Valentine
Nebraska's Oldest Fish HatcheryBy W. B. WELLS, Red Oak, Iowa.
Tucked away in the hills along the north side of the Platte River, about twenty-five miles west of Plattsmouth, may be found one of the most beautiful scenes in Nebraska—and, indeed, attractive enough to be worth visiting by people from adjacent states, who love nature and do not object to some slight improvements, or perhaps one should say changes, by man.
The place referred to is known as the Gretna State Fisheries. It is at the original fishery site discovered by one of Nebraska's pioneers whose name was James Romine, and who found and saw the utility of a splendid spring of cold and sparkling water in one of the ravines which separate two of those picturesque bluffs along the north side of the Platte River.
(Upper right) — Hatchery House and General View of Lower Ponds.
(Upper left)—Ponds and Trees.
(Lower)—Upper Ponds and Spring House.
Later the state became interested and as the importance of the preservation of the fish industry became manifest, it was found that here was an ideal place for the breeding and culture of all kinds of native fish from which the lakes and spring streams of Nebraska could be stocked as it became necessary from time to time. They are now under the supervision of W. J. O'Brien, who has been superintendent for many years.
The State Fisheries were once known as the South Bend Fisheries, because they were for many years "just across the river" from the little town of South Bend and could be reached by a toll bridge which was then owned and controlled by the Stout quarry interests. They still are "just across the river" but time and ice-laden tides of the old Platte have long since removed the last vestige of the old quarry bridge, and one from the south is now obliged to go by way of Louisville or Ashland or some other detour to reach the Gretna Fisheries. Of course, one might cross by boat—or do the Australian crawl—but being familiar with the Platte, its sand-bars and its oft-proven treachery, these methods are not recommended.
But if one had to go much farther it would still be worth one's while for a day's outing. The drive from the north end of the Louisville bridge is not a paved boulevard but is a picturesque, winding roadway for the most part between high bluffs and the swirling waters of the Platte River. The road is rock-strewn and rough, but one forgets these imperfections in contemplation of the splendid scenery. One passes first the great limestone quarries, with their numerous great tunnels and subterranean passages extending for hundreds of feet in all directions into the solid hills of stone. From this quarry comes much of the crushed rock which is used on many of the highways in this vicinity.
Winding westward along the river bank, just a few miles, brings one suddenly to a wide clearing where the weeds and brush and undergrowth of all kinds have been removed and only the largest trees, most of which are oaks, are left. We have reached the State Game Preserve—the Gretna Fisheries.
The first thing one discovers is a series of large ponds, many of which are carpeted with pond lilies whose broad, flat leaves are greener than anything except the occasional bull frog who perches upon them. These are the spawning ponds and in the midst of them there is a(Continued on Page 14)
The Editor of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA desires to thank the many sportsmen who sent in fishing and hunting pictures. We are publishing many of these and regret that we cannot publish more. But whether used or not, we appreciate the fine co-operation and interest.
It would seem that many hunters do not believe in an eight-hour day! A number of complaints of early morning shooting and late evening shooting have been reported to game wardens.
The Nebraska law provides that it shall be unlawful to hunt prior to one-half hour before sunrise and after sunset. Many hunters do not seem to understand this.
Nebraska is divided into Central Standard time and Mountain Standard time. All of the state east of MeCook, North Platte, Broken Bow and Long Pine is eastern time; all of the state west is mountain time.
If you do not know the approximate time of sunrise and sunset for your community, consult the nearest U. S. 'Weather Bureau. Stations are located at Lincoln, Omaha, Valentine and North Platte. All the daily papers carry this information in their weather bureau reports.
Not long ago the press carried the following dispatch from Kansas:
Information comes from Kansas that no law ever passed by the legislature of that state has proven so popular as that act of the last legislative session providing for the establishment of artificial lakes and making liberal provision therefor.
Kansas, like most of the mid-western states south of Minnesota and Wisconsin, is very lacking in lakes suitable for the maintenance of fish but is well supplied with streams. By damming streams in suitable locations, artificial lakes can be created which will eventually prove a great boon to the people.
The law referred to provides that from two to four lakes shall be constructed each year, to be paid for wholly from hunting and fishing license receipts of residents and non-residents. The lakes are to cover, when possible, an area of at least 1,000 acres each, and the borders are to be planted with trees and seeded with grass. These lakes are to be stocked with fish, and will become fishing and camping resorts for citizens and tourists.
Kansas has one of the largest fish hatching plants for the production of warm-water game fishes in the country, located at Pratt, and will be able to furnish the brood stock for these artificial lakes as they are created. The chairman of the game commission reports that there are 218 applications on file from different communities in the state asking that they may be permitted to offer sites for these artificial lakes. There is a tremendous popular interest in the enterprise and there is no reason why it will not work out with complete success.
Nebraska is not lagging behind her sister state in this respect. In fact, we are ahead of her inasmuch as five fishing grounds have already been established in Nebraska.
Nebraska does not need to go to the expense of damming streams to make artificial lakes, since the Cornhusker state has a large number of natural lakes available. Then, too, sand and gravel operation in Nebraska is providing a great deal of fishing waters. After land has been stripped and the sand and gravel removed, it is fit for little else than fishing. For that reason many splendid deep-water fishing resorts can be had in Nebraska at a small cost to the state.
During the first nine months of this year violators of Nebraska game laws have paid nearly $10,000.00 in fines and court costs.
While the school fund is ahead this amount, nevertheless it is too bad that all this money and effort has been misdirected. How much better it would have been if this effort could have been directed to conservation.
The time is at hand when conservation must be practiced as well as preached, if we are to have wild life. Ruthless exploitation of game cannot go on forever; in fact, it has gone entirely too far now.
The whole question of conservation hinges on this thought: Do you want a lot of game today and none tomorrow, or do you want a little game today and some tomorrow?
The people of Nebraska have already decided on the latter and have made laws to carry that decision into effect. Regardless of how you may feel personally, it is your duty to fall into line with the majority and take game as the law provides.
A visit to the Gretna Hatcheries on the Platte River will be both interesting and enjoyable. The scenery is unsurpassed anywhere in the state,
Every year dozens of hunters are killed or maimed by accidents.
A few days ago the writer witnessed a trap-shooting contest. Many sportsmen of considerable experience were exceedingly careless with their pieces.
Did you ever watch soldiers shooting on a rifle range ? It would be a fine thing for every sportsman to observe the care that is used by our army to ward off accidents.
At the trap-shooting contest pieces were held in every conceivable manner, many times pointing directly into a crowd, frequently with the muzzle resting on the toe or in the armpit.
A good slogan to remember is this: It is usually the unloaded gun that kills.
Keep your gun pointed upward — always — and never at any one, whether loaded or unloaded.
When at a firing line and not firing keep it open. An open piece never yet has killed anybody.
When out hunting keep your piece pointed away from your comrades. And always be conscious of their whereabouts.
Use especial care in climbing through fences. Many pieces are discharged in this way.
Remember that one accidental discharge of a gun may ruin several lives. Don't take any chances.
Great property damage, impaired service, and sometimes loss of life, result from shooting insulators in electric, telephone and telegraph lines, according to Horace M. Davis, Director of the Nebraska Utilities Information Bureau.
Boys should be warned that shooting of insulators, etc., is the work of vandals and simply a case of destroying property. Real sportsmen never destroy property any more than they willfully break game laws.
Not one cent of your taxes is used by the Bureau of Game and Fish.
Many citizens of Nebraska think that some of their tax money is used in propagating fish and game birds, in enforcing the game laws and in buying lakes and hunting grounds. Such is not the case.
All the money spent by the Bureau of Game and Fish comes from license fees. If a man desires to hunt and fish or trap he buys a license. This dollar he pays provides the revenue for the Bureau.
As a matter of fact, in the years gone by the taxpayer has actually been helped out rather than called on to pay. Considerable money collected from license fees was not used in providing fishing and hunting hut was turned into the general fund.
Remember that the Bureau of Game and Fish is self sustaining. Not one cent of taxes is used.
Here are some daily menus of birds, as found by investigations made by the department of agriculture of the Canadian government:
The Northern Flicker—5,000 ants; 1,000 chinch bugs.
The Nighthawk—1,000 potato bugs, when in Winnipeg, or 400 grasshoppers when on the prairie.
The Rose-breasted Crosbeak—500 potato bugs.
The Meadowlark—100 cutworms, 100 grasshoppers, 200 ground beetles, 50 caterpillars, 2,000 weed seeds for dessert.
The Kingbird—flies, mosquitoes, locusts, beetles, crickets and moths. This sporty bird is accused of even taking honey bees, but in 634 stomachs examined in an extended investigation covering a wide area only 22 contained bees, less than 3 per cent of the Kingbirds were bee robbers and of the 61 bees captured, 51 were drones.
The Bluebird—grasshoppers, beetles, caterpillars.
The Catbird—beetles, ants, crickets, grasshoppers.
The House Wren— caterpillars, bugs, weevils, spiders, plant-lice.
The Butcher Bird— grasshoppers, locusts, moths, and mice.
Killdeer — beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, mosquitoes, dragon-flies, centipedes, spiders, wood ticks, snails, slugs, grubs, cut-worms, horse flies and cattle ticks.
Franklin's Gull—when the grasshoppers were gone one stomach was found to contain 984 ants, 327 dragon-flies, 82 beetles, 87 bugs and 42 cut-worms.
Swallows—flies, mosquitoes, beetles, ants and chinch bugs. The small arboreal Warblers, Vireos and Creepers, eat leaf rollers, canker-worms, bark beetles and plant lice, and thus protect the tree from these pests.
Birds of all kinds have been found to be most valuable to the farmer. They not only kill many crop pests annually, but also protect the orchard.
Wallgren Lake Recreation Grounds Now Under Development
DEVELOPMENT work at Wallgreen Lake, near Hay Springs, in Sheridan County, is well under way. Wallgreen Lake is owned by the State of Nebraska and is being developed into a State Recreation grounds. The state owns some 130 acres, most of which is water. The lake is located about three miles southeast of Hay Springs and is very accessible to travel on the new State Highway which is being developed in northern Nebraska.
The first development work began last month, a contract was let by the Bureau of Game and Fish for the construction of a ditch leading from Hay Springs Creek to the lake. This ditch will be about a half mile in length, will have a six-foot bottom and be of sufficient size to carry enough water into the lake during flood periods to keep the water at the desired depth.
A graded road is also being built through the grounds. The Hay Springs Chapter of the Izaak Walton League arranged with the county officials to grade a half mile of county road leading up to the grounds. By doing this they will have a graded road all the way to the lake from Hay Springs and the state road. The League officials, having the road machinery on the ground, offered to pay one-half the cost of the construction of a road through the grounds. The county ofcials offered the use of their machinery without cost. The Bureau of Game and Fish accepted the offer with the result that a good graded road nearly a mile in length will be built through the state land at a cost to the state of around $100.
A landscape man has already surveyed the grounds and will submit plans- for landscaping the same within a short time. As soon as this survey is completed and definite plans agreed upon, trees will be planted, the land fenced, a well sunk and toilets, etc., constructed . It is likely a day will be observed next spring at which time the Hay Springs Chapter of the Izaak. Walton League and other interested organizations and citizens will gather and plant trees.
It is believed that Wallgreen Lake Recreation Grounds will eventually prove very popular with citizens of north-western Nebraska. While the people in that part of the state are fortunate in having a great deal of the natural scenery, nevertheless there is a real need there for a public fishing resort. Wallgreen Lake will be amply stocked by the state and every effort made to make the fishing most attractive to all lovers of the sport.
Scenes at Wallgreen Lake. (Upper)—Fishing during a weekend
(Lower) —General View of Lake.
This month quite a number of contributors helped us make the October issue of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA.
C. C. Wiggans, Secretary of the State Park Board has contributed an article on state parks.
Dr. G. E. Condra presents his second article, of a series he is writing for us.
Secretary Andrews of the State Division of the Izaak Walton League wrote the article on the "Ikes" convention.
G. H. Nichols contributes the article on Sioux County Park Areas.
Pictures for the issue were provided by:
Conservation and Survey Division, University of Nebraska; Lloyd Dort, Assistant Attorney General of Nebraska; G. H. Nichols, one of the new directors of the Nebraska Izaak Walton League; the Hay Springs Chapter of the Izaak Walton League; Dennis N. Mills, C. De Lany, Earl C. Danker, Dr. H. B. Sturdevant, Bert Lashmutt, Chas. Pilford and others. Field Superintendent Bunney was again on the job with his. camera and furnished the photo showing seines confiscated.
Two Reasons Why Fish and Game Are DisappearingBy FRANK B. O'CONNELL Chief Game Warden
STUDY the accompanying picture closely. Here you will find some of the many devices used in illegal fishing. All of these devices were taken from one Nebraska river during the past summer. There were seines, hoop nets and traps of every description. Many of the hoop nets and traps were found full of catfish. One hoop net was found containing the skeltons of some twenty catfish.
Here you have the real reason why fishing is poor in this particular river. A handful of men are robbing thousands of Nebraska citizens of many pleasant hours of recreation.
Why do they use these devices? There can be no sport in it. It is unlawful. Then why do they continue to use them?
There are a number of reasons why such devices are being used.
First, many of them are used by thoughtless persons who do not understand the need of conservation.
Secondly, many of them are used by men who have a mistaken idea about ownership of fish and game.
Thirdly, many of them are used by men who are afraid they won't get their share of the good things in this world.
Fourthly, many of them are used by men who have little respect for clean sport or law and who desire to commercialize fishing. There is no use fooling ourselves into believing that such devices as these can be used and we will still have good fishing. One or the other must go: there will be good fishing and no devices or there will be no fishing and many devices.
The other picture deserves your consideration.
A great many people are asking: why is the wild game of Nebraska disappearing? Here you will find one answer.
In the days of long ago when the American people thought their natural resources were so vast they could never all be used, many hunters got the habit of shooting big bags. Many of them shot far more than they could use or needed, as these two men have done.
But today we are keenly aware of our mistake. Our resources are not so vast that they cannot be exploited. With teeming millions of citizens and many more millions to live here during the years to come, it behooves us to take stock of our God-given goods.
Shall we continue to ruthlessly destroy our wild game and let the present generation sack the prairies and woods, or shall we become conservationists and leave some for the citizens of tomorrow?
Shooting big bags is a habit. Cultivate the habit of taking no more than you need—just enough to get you out in the great outdoors, enough to give you a taste of wild things.
Make up your mind today to conserve. Decide that under no circumstances will you ever kill more game(Continued on Page Sixteen)
Nebraska "Ikes" Hold Annual MeetBy JOHN C. ANDREWS, Secretary Nebraska Izaak Walton League.
THE Nebraska Izaak Walton convention was called to order September 13, 1926, by State President Mr. Frank J. Brady of Atkinson, Nebr., after which an address of welcome was delivered by Mayor Ruby of Valentine, who in true western hospitality, welcomed the two hundred delegates from all parts of the state to the city of Valentine, bidding them a very kindly greeting in which the homes and business places of the city were thrown open to the visitors.
Dr. G. E. Condra of Lincoln, Nebr., head of the National Conservation Congress, was appointed temporary chairman of the convention, and from his very intimate knowledge of Nebraska Outdoors was enabled to make a very delightful response in behalf of the delegates to Mayor Ruby's address of welcome.
After the perfection of a temporary organization and the appointment of various committees, the convention adjourned until the following day.
On September 14, the convention was again called to order by Dr. Condra, and a permanent organization formed, at which time Mr. I. J. Dunn of Omaha was selected as permanent chairman and Mr. J. C. Andrews of Norfolk as permanent secretary.
Delegates Dance With the Indians
The balance or the day was confined largely to routine business in which the reports of the various committees were taken into consideration and acted upon Resolutions were prepared in memory of Mr. Howard Miller of Battle Creek, Nebr., first President of the Nebraska Division of the Izaak Walton League of America, who served in ths., capacity from May, 1924, until his death on February 6, 1926, and in memory of Hon. Willis W. Cole of Neligh, Nebraska, who was one of the charter members and organizers of the Neligh Nebraska Chapter. He was a member of the Legislature of the State of Nebraska and while so serving was instrumental in securing favorable legislation for the preservation of fish and game, and was generally recognized as one of the pioneers of Waltoniah principles.
This was the largest convention in the history of the State Division, there being a larger number of delegates from a larger number of Chapters than at any of the conventions in the past, and the interest in the conservation of the natural resources of the State, including our fish and game, was enthusiastically manifested, and the program outlined for the ensuing year was of a very constructive nature.
Trap Shooting at the Convention
The Constitution and By-Laws were amended to provide for a General Counsel and Mr. Webb Rice of Norfolk, Nebr., was elected to this position.
The visiting delegates were very appreciative of the program arranged by the Valentine Chapter, which consisted of a Trap Shooting contest at the fair grounds, a Bait Casting Contest at the State Fish Hatchery, a Buffalo Barbecue at the City Park, and sight-seeing trips through the State Fish Hatcheries and the National Game Preserve.
At the National Game Preserve the visitors had an opportunity to see a herd of buffalo in their natural surroundings, this herd being one of the few remaining, is under the jurisdiction of the United States government and is but a small sample of the vast number that were at large in the earlier days of the State.
The visit at the State Fish Hatcheries was personally conducted by Superintendent M. E. O'Brien, who is President of the Valentine Chapter, and who took great pride in explaining to the visitors in detail the intricacies con- nected with fish culture and propagation, the results of which may be seen in the large glass tanks in which samples of the various kinds of fish are kept for exhibition purposes.
One of the features of the entertainment afforded.was an evening program conducted by Dr. G. E. Condra in which he lectured on the natural resources of the State and illustrated same by moving pictures from the Extension Department of the State University. Dr. Condra, through his very intimate knowledge of the natural resources of the State was able to illustrate and describe very thoroughly the cattle industry of the northwest, which he followed with views of the large irrigation project(Continued on Page Sixteen)
The Sioux County Park AreaOUTDOOR NEBRASKA 11 By G. H. NICHOLS
A FEW days ago the writer was driving east from Harrison, Sioux County, Nebraska, over the best stretch of graveled road in the state, or in any other state for that matter, and had for company a man who has traveled Nebraska for twenty years. As we were wheeling smoothly over the pavement-like surface, he remarked:
"Nick, if the roads all the way to the Rocky Mountains were as good as this I'd go there every summer."
I replied, "Why run away off to another state to see outdoor grandeur when there are thousands of acres of it two miles from where we are now?"
He looked at me in surprise and said, 'What are you talking about?"
I answered him by turning from the highway and taking him to the "Lookout Point," a high place from where one may view the vast park area that lies along Monroe, Sowbelly and Hat Creeks, beautiful trout streams that wind their ways over rocky beds for many miles.
Before we had reached the high point and gotten from the car my friend was awed by the scene that came into view as we neared the canyons. After he had seen the area in all its beauty and grandeur, he exclaimed:
"If anyone had told me that I had passed up and down the Northwestern rail-road and over the highway for all these years and was within two miles of such a scene as this I would have thought him crazy."
I relate this incident just to show readers of OUTDOOR NEBRASKA how little the average Nebraskan knows of his own state and what a revelation it would be to many if they would only "See Nebraska First."
Much Splendid Scenery is to be Found in Sioux County.
But I must say a word more about this beautiful and grand section of our own state that should be state owned and converted into a playground for generations to come. Unless it is soon made a government preserve it will be devastated and its natural wonders and beauty spots gone forever. The stately pines will be chopped down, the grassy slopes tramped over by cattle, the streams polluted by hog yards, and the springs become their wallowing places. Upon the other hand, what a reputation Nebraska might gain were it made into a great playground for the thousands of tourists who annually traverse Highway No. 20, to and from the mountains?
This is no idle dream or visionary scheme, sportsmen and outdoor lovers of Nebraska; it is a heritage that we owe to coming generations and for the few paltry dollars it would now take to insure them that heritage we cannot afford to pass up this opportunity to build well for the future.
"Game Laws for the season 1926-27," the twenty-seventh annual summary of Federal, State, and Provincial statutes relating to game, has been compiled by Talbott Denmead and Frank L. Earnshaw, of the Biological Survey, and published as Farmers' Bulletin No. 1505-F by the United States Department of Agriculture. The outstanding information presented is the summary of laws relating to seasons, licenses, limits, possession, interstate transportation, and sale, for each State and Province, in the form of detailed but concise synopses, which should be highly useful to thousands of sportsmen hunting in their own and other states.
Federal seasons on migratory game birds were changed during the year by amendments to the regulations respecting waterfowl and shorebirds, as follows: The open season on waterfowl, coots, gallinules, and Wilson snipe was changed from the period September 16 to December 31 in Illinois, Indiana, Washington east of the Cascades, and Massachusetts in Nantucket and Dukes Counties to the period October 1 to January 15, and in Kentucky to the period November 1 to January 31; in New Mexico and California the season was changed from the period October 1 to January 15 to October 16 to January 31. The season on doves was changed from the period September 1 to December 15 in South Carolina to October 16 to January 31. The open season on black-bellied and golden plovers was closed for an indefinite period.
Only eleven states have held legislative sessions since the bulletin on the game laws for the season 1925-26 was issued—Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington. The authors of the bulletin state that most of the changes during the year in the laws relating to game have been of minor importance except in Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, and Washington, and that the most significant feature in connection with state legislation on game this year is the absence of provisions setting aside refuges for game animals or birds.
The game-law bulletin is now being distributed to law-enforcement officials, conservationists, sportsmen, and others as an aid in the administration by the Biological Survey of laws protecting migratory birds and regulating interstate commerce in game. Copies of the bulletin can be had, as long as the supply lasts, on application to the United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C. Hunters are urged to procure also copies of state game laws from their respective state game and conservation officials, a list of whom is given in the new bulletin.
Departmental ActivitiesFish Distribution Begins
Fall distribution of fish throughout Nebraska began on September 25. The Fish Car has been overhauled, a new air-pressure engine installed, and preparations made to handle a large number of fish.
Superintendent W. J. O'Brien will be in charge of the distribution of fish. A large number of applications are on hand, but every effort will be made to furnish fish to those who have suitable waters. Of course, it will be utterly impossible to furnish everybody all the fish desired. The policy of the Bureau is to divide them up into smaller shipments so that all parts of the state will be taken care of.
All hatcheries report a good crop of fish this year. M. E. O'Brien, Superintendent at Valentine, has a nice lot of bass, sunfish and croppie. Superintendent Runion, who is in charge at Benkelman and Rock Creek, has some fine trout. The Gretna Hatchery has some of nearly all varieties.
Carter Lake, in Douglas County, which has been drying up for the last five years, is to be given a new lease on life.
The Omaha Chapter of the Izaak Walton League and other interested citizens have been trying to get relief for a number of years. A plan was brought to the attention of the Bureau of Game and Fish wherein the Omaha Water Board offered water for the lake at $25 a million gallons. The Bureau believed that this was a practical way to rehabilitate the lake, and offered to pay for half the water up to 500 million gallons. This was accepted and water is already flowing into the lake. At the present writing it has been raised about fourteen inches.
Carter Lake is a well-known fishing resort and has been stocked by the state for a number of years. It is accessible to thousands of citizens of Omaha "who seldom have an opportunity to take a trip to other fishing grounds.
The Bureau is also seining out the coarse fish, and plan to assist the Omaha Chapter of the Izaak Walton League in the construction of a nursery pond. It is estimated that there are around 100,000 pounds of buffalo and carp in the lake.
Another trout nursery pond is now under construction. The Izaak Walton League at Page secured a deed to a spring on the David Bowen ranch and the Bureau has authorized the construction of a trout nursery pond not to exceed $300, of which the state will pay two-thirds and the local chapter of the league and local citizens one-third.
Dr. O. W. French, President of the Page Izaak Walton League, has been devoting considerable time to the project. It is expected to have the pond ready for spring fry.
On October 15 the mill pond near Atkinson was closed to fishing by order of the Department of Agriculture.
This action was taken upon petition from sportsmen of the vicinity who desired to protect a large number of small fish which the Bureau took from Dora Lake and placed therein.
The state law provides that the Department of Agriculture may close such waters as it is desired to stock. Upon due notice all fishing is prohibited for a certain length of time. When it is desired to re-open the same, the Department issues an opening order.
Dora Lake, near Atkinson, famous for bass fishing, is being seined and the game fish therein transferred to other waters.
Mr. John Brady and his son, Frank, President of the state division of the Izaak Walton League, and the Bureau of Fish and Game endeavored to save this lake, but it was unable to do so. Several wells were sunk, but neither produced sufficient water to raise the lake.
The seining crew spent several weeks there late in September and reported a large number of croppies, sunfish, bass, bullheads and catfish. Owing to other work the crew was withdrawn, but they are now back to work and will probably save thousands of fish which otherwise would perish this winter.
The largest game preserve ever established by order of the Secretary of Agriculture was set aside last month. It consists of 14,000 acres in Lincoln County.
For a number of months Mr. George F. Barrett of Moorefield, Nebraska, and other interested citizens, have been at work lining up property to be included in a game preserve. Early in September they completed their work and the property will soon be posted.
The new reserve is in southern Lincoln County, close to the Frontier County line. It is well adapted to all bird life and it is believed that this will provide a splendid breeding ground. It will be closed to hunting for a period of three years.
During August the conservation crew of the Bureau of Game and Fish seined Horseshoe Lake, which is about ten miles north of Omaha. The lake is very low and efforts are being made to supply water for it. A large number of carp were taken from the lake.
Superintendent O'Brien received many compliments on his exhibit at the 1926 State Fair. A large number of big fish were exhibited this year. It was estimated that more than 200,000 people inspected the some forty species of Nebraska fish which were to be seen.
A pocket-size edition of the Nebraska game laws is now ready for distribution. This edition can be carried about much more easily than the old edition. The new book contains an index and is arranged with section numbers corresponding to the compiled statutes of the State of Nebraska.
Notes on Fins, Feathers and Furs
Lloyd Dort, Assistant Attorney General (right), shows how to take Bass, Perch and Bluegill from Cherry County Lakes.
A three-day catch of Catfish from the Platte River, by A. B. Sturdevant of David City.
Thaddeus Surber, superintendent of Fish Propagation of Minnesota, recently broadcast a statement by radio, which should be heeded by fish Guitarists, sportsmen and law makers everywhere. He pointed out that the establishment of bass nurseries or refuges on the national spawning grounds of these fish where they will be permanently immune from molestation by anglers is the true solution. Minnesota put this system into effect in a few lakes some years ago with very beneficial effect.
Owing to the variability of the natural spawning season for bass, depending on weather conditions, it is impossible to give them the needed protection by close seasons fixed by law, but suitable refuges in every bass lake which will always be closed to fishing will insure a continuous supply of brood stock and will give the breeding bass protection during their entire spawning season, no matter when it happens to come.
Nebraska's fifth game and bird reserve will be located at Valparaiso. The Oak Valley Chapter of the Izaak Walton League has just arranged for the leasing of a thousand acres there and the matter is now before Secretary of Agriculture McLaughlin who will approve it and issue an order setting aside the land for a refuge. A. A. Misek, President of the Oak Valley Chapter of the League and recently elected state director of the League, circulated the petitions.
As a result of a law enacted by the recent session of congress a national game preserve will be created in the San Bernardino national forest, to be known as the Tahquitz national game preserve.
The region to be included embraces forty-three sections of land, all in Riverside county, California. It is a wild and inaccessible tract and will be well suited as a refuge for deer and mountain sheep.
The segregation of this area as a game refuge has been advocated for a number of years by the Sierra club.
Fish rescue work over the nation will be unusually heavy this year, is the belief of William J. Stratton, director of the Illinois Board of Conservation.
Heavy floods have landlocked countless fish, and in Illinois, he said, more than 100 men will be assigned to the task of replacing "lost" members of the finny tribe in their home waters, by truck and seine.
A state-wide survey is under way to determine the extent of the work needed, along the Illinois, Mississippi, Sangamon and Kaskaskia rivers.
When you take a trip to Southeastern Nebraska you should visit the new Rock Creek Hatchery in Dundee County. Thousands of trout are to be raised here.
A five and a three pound Bass taken from Enders Overflow by Angler Wilson.
modern and scientific "hatching house," where the embryo fish is developed to an independent age, educated and coached before he is turned loose in the various waters of Nebraska to shift for himself and look out for the : constant menace of the "hook worm," or other snares or devices designed for his undoing.
Above the hatchery are a series of ponds arising above each other like terraces in which different kinds of fish are allowed to develop. Here one may see rainbow trout, all the way from six to eighteen inches in length, gold fish a foot long, and schools of bass, pickerel and croppie —while many other native and game fish may be found in these ponds or in the Hatchery Aquarium, where their habits may be studied, and one may discover the answers to many of the piscatorial problems and the sceret to the "O, so often empty creel."
These terraced pools are fed direct from a spring whose fountainhead will be found a few hundred yards up the valley enclosed in what is familiarly designated as the Spring House. Cement walks lead around and between the several ponds and up to the Spring House, while on each side are the high bluffs, left very much in their wild state of native growth and cleared only enough to make them delightful picnic grounds for the tourists or visitors.
The grounds are beautifully landscaped with, permanent concrete and gravel drives and walks, beautiful flowers and climbing vines, with here and there an attractive building for some practical purpose but designed to fit into the landscape and harmonize with the scene as a whole.
Paths and drives and stairways lead up the sides of the bluffs where at the west side of the spring house valley, are the homes of the attendants, while on the other side are playgrounds and picnic grounds to which the public is welcome between the hours of 9 A. M. and 6 P. M.
Caught in Lake Ericson by Waldo Livings. Waldo is nine years old
A nice string of Bass taken from Beaver Lake by D. N. Mills.
It is a stiff climb for a pedestrian or for an automobile up the winding roadway that leads to the first level of the hills and most men as well as cars take the last half of the trip up the hill "in low." Above the playground and picnic grounds, paths lead onward, upward, almost as far again, and the ambitious visitor who goes to the summit and looks out over the broad expanses of water and sandbar which compose the Platte River, and a large part of the northern half of Cass County, is certainly repaid for his trouble by the magnificent view which is spread before his eyes. One of the highest points along the Platte River —not from sea level but from Platte River level—is on this hill above the State Fisheries, and we doubt if a more splendid view is to be found in all Nebraska.
If one is interested at all in fish, flowers or beautiful drives, natural beauty or in a grand and glorious glimpse of the broad Platte and fertile valley in which it lies, one may be sure of being well repaid by making a day's trip to the Gretna Fisheries.
The most direct route is to go to Louisville, crossing to the north side of the Platte river on a free bridge, and then going west along the river road until you come to the spot which you will immediately recognize before you see the legend over the gate which reads "State Fisheries."
And if you can see Superintendent Will O'Brien, or Charles Fosberg or G-arland Gray, you may be sure of a courteous reception and all the information which your curiosity may crave. And you will wonder why you have never been there before.
than you can eat and that you will never allow any of your comrades to shoot game and then let it remain on the field.
Simply because the law says you may take a certain bag, don't think you must get that many birds. Shoot what you think you need and what you think you are entitled to. But never allow yourself to do as these men in our illustration have done. They have no respect for law, no desire to conserve. They are the fellows that always have to get the good things first and then the biggest share.
in the vicinity of Scottsbluff, which has brought untold wealth to the section of the country through the sugar industry. This was followed by pictures of the National Forest Preserve at Halsey giving a very fair illustration of the forestation possibilities within the state. Pictures were also shown of migratory wild fowl, and fishing lakes of the Sand Hills regions.
The convention was brought to a close with a banquet at which Mr. Ralph M. Kryger of Neligh, Nebr., acted as toastmaster. He called on a number for remarks during the course of the evening and delightful responses were made by all. State Game Warden Prank B. O'Connell explained the work of his department in connection with the enforcement of the various laws; Colonel Tracewell told of the early days aroxmd Valentine, and Congressman Robert Simmons told of the part that was being taken in conservation work by the national government.NEW OFFICERS President, Frank J. Brady............................................Atkinson Honorary President, Dave Hanna ..........................Wood Lake 1st Vice President, S. P. Cressap.......................Nebraska City 2nd Vice President, R. R. Brosius............................Valentine 3rd Vice President, T. E. Adams..................................Kimball 4th Vice President, H. H. Mauck.....................................Nelson 5th Vice President, Lyle Jackson..................................Neligh 6th Vice President, Dr. Graham..........................................Allen Treasurer, C. J. Hulac ....................................................Norfolk Secretary, John C. Andrews...........................................Norfolk DIRECTORS 1st District, Fred Mockett, 1 year..................................Lincoln 1st District, C. R. Butler, 2 years............................Tecumseh 1st District, Elmer Sundstrom, 3 years...................Louisville 2nd District, Edward Morris, 1 year......................:.....Omaha 2nd District, Fred Parks, 2 years........................South Omaha 2nd District, Wm. G. Stroup, 3 years...............................Valley 3rd District, C. C. Courtright, 1 year........................Fremont 3rd District, G. H. Nichols, 2 years............................Norfolk 3rd District, C. L. Dickey, 3 years...............................Columbus 4th District, A. A. Misek, 1 year..............................Valparaiso 4th District, Dr. G. G. Delfs, 2 years........................Shiekley 4th District, E. T. Hoover, 3 years.....................................York 5th District, J. C. Copsey, 1 year..............................Holdrege 5th District, W. B. Wood, 2 years................................Nelson
Black Bass caught at Beaver Lake this summer by Mrs. Dennis N. Mills.
Removal of coarse fish from a Nebraska Lake.
Fremont was selected as the place in which to hold the 1927 Convention.
Is Yet to Be LandedThe grandside sat in his easy chair, And his laugh was a gurgling croak, While the grandson told of a monstrous fish He had hooked on a line—which broke. Then the old man gravely smiled and said, My dear boy, it was large, I know, For I hooked that same old fish myself Some fifty-odd years ago.
NEBRASKA STATE PARKS(Continued from Page Three)
the Governor and Secretary of Public Works as ex-officio chairman and secretary respectively and six members appointed by the Governor. This same organization still maintains except that the chairman of the Department of Horticulaure of the University of Nebraska has replaced the Secretary of Public Works as Secretary of the Board.
The Board under this legislative act has charge and supervision of all state parks, all lands which may be acquired by the state and used for parks, park boulevards, forest reserves, or set aside for the protection of animal or bird life, or by reason of its natural beauty, scientific interest or historic association. It may acquire such lands by gift or purchase, hold them in trust, make a state survey of park areas, lay down rules and regulations governing such regions, etc.; in short the Nebraska State Park Board is given full authority in connection with any and all park work.
In addition to creating an agency to oversee parks the Legislature of 1923 also accepted offers which resulted in the establishment of two other state parks and made(Continued on Page Sixteen)
NEBRASKA STATE PARKS(Continued from Page Fifteen)
provision for the maintenance of one of them. The donation of Arbor Lodge, a portion of the J. Sterling Morton homestead at Nebraska City, by Joy Morton, a son, was accepted and $10,000.00 appropriated for the biennium. It also accepted the offer of Custer County citizens of a sixty-acre tract near Broken Bow and thus Victoria Springs State Park came into existence.
Just a word now descriptive of the various parks.Chadron State Park
Chadron State Park as indicated above is a 640-acre tract located among the pine covered ridges in the southern part of Dawes County. It is rather heavily wooded in certain portions, the main timber stand being Ponderosa pine. Several miles of roadway make the greater part of the area accessible and from certain points on this auto highway magnificent views can be obtained. During the past year certain improvements have been made since $12,000.00 is available for use in this park during the biennium. A shelter house, and cook shack have been constructed and an ice-house filled with ice. By constructing two dams and laying some pipe an artificial lake was made and is now being used for swimming. It has also been stocked with fish by the Bureau of Game and Fish. A running stream furnishes the water attraction and springs supply an abundance of drinking water. A baseball diamond and bleachers have been constructed. Various camp conveniences such as tables, stoves, etc., are available and tents may also be rented at a nominal price. Mr. J. W. Good is caretaker.
This park is serving well the purposes for which it was set aside. During the 1925 season at least 75,000 people visited it and thousands camped there for periods of varying lengths. Many organization picnics and district meetings are held here. The attendance in 1926 is considerably greater than last year. The location of this park on the main Alliance-Chadron Highway permits easy access not only to Nebraskans but also others who visit Yellowstone National Park and the northwest by way of the Lincoln Highway and the Black Hills.Arbor Lodge
Arbor Lodge State Park is located at the outskirts of Nebraska City. It is a 65-acre park of woods and meadow. An arboretum and white pine grove vie with the native oaks, elms, etc., for the interest of the visitor. Possibly the main attraction in this park is the fine old colonial mansion. The original house built by J. Sterling Morton when he homesteaded this entry has been remodeled and enlarged several times until now it is an imposing structure of some fifty-five rooms. A visitors' register is kept in the mansion and an average of over 30,000 people sign this register every summer. Visiting hours are from one to five daily from April to November. Various rooms are used for museum materials. Numerous other thousands visit the groves and arboretum for picnic and recreation purposes. No camping is permitted. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Williams are in charge. The sum of $10,000 must maintain this property during the present two years.Victoria Springs
Victoria Springs State Park is a 60-acre tract about 20 miles northwest of Broken Bow, partly covered with an old cottonwood grove. Victoria Springs creek runs through it and along this stream are several springs, one of which has a rather marked mineral composition. Two log cabins built by Judge Matthews who homesteaded this place over fifty years ago are still standing. Picnic and camping conveniences are available. No regular caretaker has been employed since only $2,000 is available to be used during the biennium.
Trout (one Rainbow and four Brook) taken from near Riverton by Earl C. Danker and son.
Now as to the future of state parks in Nebraska, there is only one thing to be said. They will develop in number and usefulness only just so fast and so far as there is demand from the public for them. Today, three parks, two hundred miles apart, are all that the state can count. Approximately 50 per cent of the state's population is within 75 miles of one or the other. How long the other 50 per cent of Nebraska citizens will be more or less denied the use of their parks depends upon the generosity of the Legislatures in making available funds for purchasing suitable areas or upon the generosity of public spirited citizens in dedicating such lands for this use. Up to the present it has not been necessary for the state to purchase a single acre for the park purposes. A somewhat similar plan operates in Iowa, where the local community contributes all or at least a portion of the money necessary to purchase the property—the state then assuming all maintenance costs. Whether such a policy can be continued in Nebraska is a question.More Parks Needed
More state parks are badly eeded. Nebraska has many areas valuable from historical as well as recreational standpoints. One feature which would perhaps help along the whole program as much as any other would be the assurance of a steady income year after year. Biennial appropriations are fine when ample for needs but too often the expending agency is left in doubt as to the future and thus may possibly not spend its funds as wisely as might otherwise be done.
State park enlargement and development should go hand in hand with other outdoor recreational development. The greatly increased interest in outdoor sports, fish and game work, camping, etc., bespeaks a steady growth in related activities as well. Good parks help make good citizens because no one can thoughtfully walk through beautiful woods, drink cool spring water, or sleep beneath the stars without becoming a better man or woman. Our present state parks are fine but let's have many more good ones, too.