Author Archives: Andrew Wojtanik

Fossil Hills Trail (Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, NE)

Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in northwest Nebraska was established a mere quarter century ago—in June 1997—but its famed mammal fossils date to the early Paleocene Epoch, just after the mass extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Dozens of … Continue reading

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Fort Falls Trail (Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge, NE)

A pioneer of environmental conservation, President Theodore Roosevelt created, with the stroke of a pen in January 1912, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in northern Nebraska, protecting a “preserve and breeding ground for native birds.” The refuge also protects herds … Continue reading

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Smith Falls Trail (Smith Falls State Park, NE)

“Honestly, it’s not for everyone” – so goes the official tourism slogan for the state of Nebraska, a Great Plains state notable mostly for its fields of corn and the invention of the Reuben sandwich and Kool-Aid. The tourism campaign … Continue reading

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Calumet Bluff Trail (Gavin’s Point Dam area, NE)

During the first summer of the famed Lewis & Clark Expedition in 1804, the travelling company camped for four nights at the base of a high bluff along the Missouri River, described by the party as “composed of a yellowish … Continue reading

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Gavin’s Point Nature Trail (Lewis & Clark Recreation Area, SD)

Created by the Gavins Point Dam on the Missouri River, Lewis and Clark Lake spans more than 31,000 on the border of Nebraska and South Dakota. While the massive reservoir conceals the original river embankments, it is paralleled on both … Continue reading

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Spirit Mound Trail (Spirit Mound Historic Prairie, SD)

With a system of dams effectively flooding much of the Missouri River shoreline where Meriweather Lewis and William Clark once camped during their 1803-6 expedition, there are few places left where one can walk, with certainty, in the footsteps of … Continue reading

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Circle Trail (Pipestone National Monument, MN)

Pipestone National Monument in southwest Minnesota preserves the site of an active pipestone quarry used by the Sioux and other American Indian tribes to craft famed “peace pipes” popularized by groups in the northern plains of the United States. The … Continue reading

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Mississippi National River & Recreation Area, MN

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota are known—perhaps more so to locals than non-natives—for having one of the most extensive park systems in the country, centering largely around the mighty Mississippi River. The National Park Service’s Mississippi … Continue reading

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Cascade Falls & Falls Bluff Trail Loop (City of Osceola, WI)

Osceola, Wisconsin, situated on the St. Croix River and border with Minnesota, is a charming small town that is a popular day trip for Twin Cities residents. It owes its destination status in part to the natural landscapes immediately surrounding … Continue reading

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Summit Rock, Echo Canyon, & River Bluff Trail Loop (Interstate Park, WI)

Centuries upon centuries of freezing, thawing, and riverine erosion have carved the Dalles of the St. Croix, a basalt gorge that is one of the main natural attractions on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border and a popular destination for visitors from the … Continue reading

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