Nebraskans have an interesting relationship with nature. On one hand we have a deep respect for the natural world and the need for balance. This manifests itself in our conservation efforts and abundance of state parks. On the other hand we are not shy about changing our environment to suit our needs and preferences. This is the home of Arbor Day so it’s not as if it’s a bad thing when we go about changing our environment. We’re not paving paradise for a parking lot. This is why the Nebraska National Forest just outside of Halsey makes total sense here. Nebraska doesn’t have any naturally occurring forests…so we planted one. We planted it right in the middle of the Sandhills right between the Dismal and Middle Loup rivers. It’s the largest hand planted forest in North America and provides a ton of outdoor recreational options in addition to all of the other wonderful things that are provided by forests.
Head up to Halsey and take advantage of those options. If you’re looking for someplace to camp there are three campsites in the forest. There is one large campground with amenities that has 37 campsites and two smaller ones for those looking for a little more seclusion. There are trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and ATV’s. You can go fishing as well; most of the outdoor activities you really want are available.
Really, though, the reason to come out here is that you’ll truly be getting away. Like so many things on the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway it’s a little off of the beaten path. If you’re looking to get out of town, away from the demands and annoyances of city life come explore 90,000 acres and see an endless sky full of all the stars that you never see any more. Take a deep breath and realize that the middle of nowhere is exactly where you needed to be.