The Nebraska Sandhills are one of a kind.

Land

Nebraska Sandhills: The largest area of grass-stabilized sand dunes in the Western Hemisphere, 20,000 square miles or roughly one third of Nebraska. The Nebraska Sandhills represent the largest remaining grassland ecosystem in the USA that is still fully intact for both flora and fauna.

More cattle than people: The Sandhills make up half of the nearly 23 million acres of rangeland and pastureland in Nebraska. Cattle (1.9 million) outnumber Nebraskans (1.8 million). 1 in every 5 steaks and hamburgers sold in the US come from Nebraska.

100th Meridian: John Wesley Powell of the U.S. Geological Survey in 1879 drew a line of longitude that became known as the 100th Meridian. This invisible division line separates the lush verdant east and the arid west and runs through the Sandhills.

Nebraska National Forest: The largest hand-planted forest in the nation and the oldest US forest tree nursery in the nation.

Water

Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is one of the top 50 ecotourism sites in an eight state region.

1,600 Sandhills lakes: These lakes total 80,000 surface acres of water.

2,000 square miles of wetlands: These wetlands cover a total of 1,307,000 acres.

Ogallala Aquifer: The largest underground aquifer in the USA makes up 76% of the High Plains Aquifer System, one of the world’s largest. 90% of annual stream flow in the Sandhills’ rivers originates from spring-fed groundwater. “The Loup River System, consisting of the North, Middle and South Loup and Dismal Rivers, exhibit a remarkable uniformity in flow and is the most constant flowing river system in the world,” according to Jim Goeke, University of Nebraska Conservation and Survey Division.

Air

Absence of light pollution: The western portion of the Sandhills is noted as one of the top two areas in the nation with the least amount of light pollution, which makes it an extraordinary region for stargazing.

#1 place in the world for birding: Ths according to Forbes FYI Magazine. See the world-renowned Spring Migration of Sandhill Cranes at the far eastern portion of the byway, part of the North American Central Flyway. Each spring, 500,000+ Sandhill Cranes gather on the central Platte River valley.

"I maintain that any days you spend in the Sandhills are not taken off your lifetime alottment. It's so restful that God just gives them to you free." — Roger Welsch

Related Links


"Right here in America is one of the world's most threatened natural systems. The Northern Great Plains is as important as the Amazon or Arctic, and deserves our attention."

Martha Kauffman, World Wildlife Fund