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

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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