About the Forest

Purple blowout penstemon surround a windmill.

Our mission is to lead in the conservation and wise use of the nation’s forests and grasslands. 

The Nebraska National Forests & Grasslands encompasses nearly 1.1 million acres of land in central and northwest Nebraska and in central and southwest South Dakota. The administrative units comprising the Nebraska are the Nebraska and Samuel R. McKelvie National Forests and the Buffalo Gap, Oglala, and Fort Pierre National Grasslands.

The forest has a broad array of resource programs including range, wildlife, lands, minerals, developed and dispersed recreation, water, wilderness, timber, fire, fossils, & heritage resources.

Emphasis areas include:

  • Forest and Grassland Plan Implementation;
  • Recreation strategy & travel management implementation;
  • Implementation of a diverse wildlife program including black-tailed prairie dog management;
  • Range Allotment Management Planning;
  • Invasive weed management and coordination with state, county and private land partners;
  • Strong coordination with grazing permittees, conservation community, recreation enthusiasts and other partners;
  • Strengthening community relationships.

Unique Features

Some unique features on the Forest include: the internationally known Hudson-Meng Bison Bonebed; the Bessey Tree Nursery (the oldest federal tree nursery and listed on the National Register of Historic Places); the western hemisphere’s largest hand-planted forest; black-footed ferret recovery program; and Toadstool Geological Park, one of the few areas in the world exposing fossil trackways of the Oligocene Epoch.

National Grassland Visitor Center buildingThe National Grasslands Visitor Center introduces and invites visitors to explore the 20 National Grasslands and represents Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. Visitors can pick up information on recreational opportunities for these US Forest Service lands. Located off Interstate 90, Exit 110 in the Town of Wall, SD, and open year round, the visitor center charges no admission fees. In the Exhibit Room, visitors discover displays on wildlife, Great Plains history, grazing management, human artifacts, grassland ecosystems and more. For visitors looking to get a taste of a grassland ecosystem, stop by the unique Living Landscape areas outside the National Grasslands Visitor Center. Take a walk on the stone paths winding through the newest segment of the landscape. The native prairie grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers of the outdoor exhibit change with the seasons. Thus, the Living Landscape offers a rare opportunity to experience some of the plants growing on the 20 National Grasslands and the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie. 

The Forest Headquarters, or Supervisor's Office, is located in Chadron, Nebraska.


Facts about the Forest & Grassland

The Nebraska National Forest began in 1902 as an experiment to produce trees and plant them in what is now the largest human-made forest in the United States.

A Brief History

The Nebraska National Forest began as an experiment. President Roosevelt set aside two treeless tracts of Nebraska sandhills as “forest reserves”.

Key Contacts

Public Affairs Officer
Cydney Janssen
(308) 432-0326 - Office

(#08) 432-0300 - Main Office