Great Plains Center Announces Top 10 Ecotourism Sites in Region

The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published the results of a survey which determined the top 10 ecotourism sites in the Great Plains; winners include Badlands National Park, Devils Tower National Monument and Theodore Roosevelt National Park among others.

| September, 2012

  • Sandhill Cranes
    Rowe Bird Sanctuary and Crane Trust is located along the Central Platte River in Nebraska, here some 500,000 to 600,000 migrating sandhill cranes stop from early March to early April to refuel.
    Photo By Richard Reading
  • Badlands National Park
     The South Unit of Badlands National Park is in the process of becoming the first tribal national park, with its world-class natural and cultural resources to be managed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
    Photo By Ian Ratcliffe
  • Bison at Ft Robinson
    Bison grazing at Ft. Robinson State Park.
    Photo By Art Zygielbaum
  • Devils Tower
    Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming.
    Photo By Ian Ratcliffe
  • Upper missouri river breaks
    The stunning Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument.
    Photo By Robert F. Diffendal Jr.
  • Prairie chickens
    Prairie chickens such as this one are popular in the central plains.
    Photo By Paul Johnsgard

  • Sandhill Cranes
  • Badlands National Park
  • Bison at Ft Robinson
  • Devils Tower
  • Upper missouri river breaks
  • Prairie chickens

The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced the results of its survey to determine the top 10 ecotourist sites in the Great Plains.

Early this spring the center conducted a two-phase survey of 51 naturalists in nine states with knowledge of Great Plains ecotourism.

Richard Edwards, director of the center, said, "We surveyed field personnel from nonprofit organizations, managers of private ecotourism companies, state agency officials and others. In the first round, these individuals were asked to identify 20 Great Plains sites which they considered to offer the best, most powerful environmental experience and/or the ones that are ecologically the most important."

In the second phase of the survey, the center shared with respondents the first-round results and then asked them to nominate their top sites from this list. The most frequently identified sites were then named as the region's top 10 sites. They are:



Badlands National Park(S.D.) — The park has 244,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie. It is home to bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets and other wildlife. The South Unit of the park is in the process of becoming the first tribal national park, with its world-class natural and cultural resources to be managed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

Rowe Bird Sanctuary/CraneTrust/Central Platte River (Neb.) — This group of sites offers multiple wildlife-viewing and hiking opportunities. Most dramatically, some 500,000 to 600,000 migrating sandhill cranes stop along this short stretch of the river from early March to early April to refuel. Both Rowe Sanctuary and the Crane Trust maintain riverine habitat for cranes and other birds.






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