|Fort Robinson State Park/Peterson Wildlife Management Area|
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 They have been much changed by fire, and the ponderosa pine forest has been replaced by vigorous growths of native grasses and shrubs.
Oglala National Grassland
|Description: 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 slabs of sandstone that looked like huge toadstools (most of the large ones have fallen).|
Wildlife to Watch: The Oglala Grassland is the best place in Nebraska to view pronghorns and a popular place to view prairie dog colonies along the site’s northern border. Overhead your are likely to see red-tailed hawks, Swainson’s hawks, ferruginous hawks, and golden eagles. Swift foxes can be found here too, but they are rare and not very active during the day. These opportunist foxes take advantage of vehicle-killed animals, so they are occasionally seen along roadsides. Oglala is also a good site for coyotes and badgers.
Grassland birds such as upland sandpipers, chestnut-collard longspurs, lark buntings, or Brewer’s blackbirds are seen year-round, but the most active times for birds are late spring and summer.
Special Tips: Roads in the Oglala Grassland vary from paved state highways to four-wheel drive only. Most of the roads are gravel and are passable except after a rain or a snowstorm. Stop at the district office south of Chadron to pick up a map of the grassland, get directions to the prairie dog towns, and learn about any hazards or interesting opportunities. The office is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Other Activities: There is a small campground at Toadstool Park, with tables, restrooms, and water. It makes a good starting place to explore the site.
Ownership: U.S.D.A. Forest Service
Size: 94,000 acres
Closest Town: Crawford
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: