Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest

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Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
McKelvieScene lg.jpg
Typical Sandhills scene with planted ponderosa pine forest at McKelvie National Forest, Nebraska
Map showing the location of Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
Map showing the location of Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
Location in the United States
Map showing the location of Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
Map showing the location of Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest
Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest (Nebraska)
LocationCherry County, Nebraska, USA
Nearest cityValentine, NE
Coordinates42°42′N 101°02′W / 42.700°N 101.033°W / 42.700; -101.033Coordinates: 42°42′N 101°02′W / 42.700°N 101.033°W / 42.700; -101.033
Area116,079 acres (469.76 km2)[1]
EstablishedOctober 15, 1971 (1971-October-15)[2]
Named forGov. Samuel R. McKelvie
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service
WebsiteSamuel R. McKelvie National Forest

The Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest is a United States National Forest located in the north-central Sandhills region of the U.S. state of Nebraska. The total area of the national forest is 116,079 acres (469.76 km2). The forest is managed by the U.S. Forest Service's Nebraska Forests and Grasslands Supervisor's Office in Chadron, Nebraska. The national forest is located entirely within Cherry County, Nebraska. There is a local ranger district office located in Nenzel.

History[edit]

In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation establishing the Niobrara Forest Reserve, later the Niobrara Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest. On October 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon designated the Niobrara Division the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest after former Governor Samuel R. McKelvie.[3]

Flora and fauna[edit]

The forest is a combination of prairie grasslands and pine forest "islands". Most of the existing forested sections were manmade, planted by hand over the past 75 years; the protein content of the native grasses is among the highest found anywhere in the world and numerous lease options are provided to local ranchers. Planted trees include eastern juniper, Scots pine and ponderosa pine which continues to need replanting as it is harvested but has also managed to spread throughout the region independently.

Indigenous wildlife such as pronghorn, white-tailed deer, mule deer, coyote and fox are plentiful. Of the 150 species of birds known to inhabit the forest, pheasant, grouse, hawk and wild turkey are the more commonly found.

Recreation[edit]

The forest has a small campground. Immediately to the south and east of the national forest is Merritt Reservoir, a dam on the Snake River; the reservoir is stocked with sport fish; it is considered one of the better fishing destinations in Nebraska. Merritt Reservoir is managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Management and additional lands[edit]

The Nebraska National Forest is managed by the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands Supervisor's Office in Chadron. Additionally, this office manages the following public lands:

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Land Areas of the National Forest System" (PDF). U.S. Forest Service. January 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  2. ^ "The National Forests of the United States" (PDF). ForestHistory.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 21, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  3. ^ "Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest". Cool State Parks. Retrieved September 22, 2012.