|Oglala National Grassland|
A large area characterized mostly by native mixed-grass prairie, with wooded streambeds and “badlands”-steep, eroded, sparsely vegetated formations created by water and wind erosion on layers of siltstone, and clay. Toadstool Park is such an area, named for narrow clay pedestals topped with slab...
Fort Robinson State Park/Peterson Wildlife Management Area
|Description: Fort Robinson State Park and Peterson Wildlife Management Area are typical of the Pine Ridge, with mixed-grass prairie, rocky outcroppings, and pine-covered buttes. They have been much changed by fire, and the ponderosa pine forest has been replaced by vigorous growths of native grasses and shrubs.|
Wildlife to Watch: Fort Robinson has become a better site for viewing bighorn sheep. Lewis’s woodpeckers are now being seen in the burned areas, making use of the dead timber. This is also a good place to see prairie dogs, wild turkeys, golden eagles, prairie falcons, barn owls, and western songbirds like mountain bluebirds, western tanagers, common poorwills, and white-throated swifts. Peterson WMA is more primitive than Fort Robinson-neither camping nor trails are developed.
Other Activities: Opportunities to see bighorns in Nebraska are rare, but it is often possible to see them on rocky buttes north of the fort complex at Fort Robinson. Hiking and horseback trails from Highway 20 east of the fort complex and Soldier Creek Road sometimes offer views. The Smiley Canyon Scenic Drive passes through an enclosure with exhibition herds of bison and then down through Smiley Canyon at the north end of the Peterson Wildlife Management Area. Mountain biking is allowed on some of the trails within the park. Primitive camping is permitted within the WMA. There are now fees at Peterson WMA.
Size: Fort Robinson: 22,000 acres; Peterson WMA: 2,640 acres
Closest Town: Crawford
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: