The Nebraska & Samuel R. McKelvie National Forests, Buffalo Gap, Fort Pierre, & Oglala National Grasslands are located in the center and north border areas of Nebraska.
Where is this Forest?


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 Forest 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.

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.

The Supervisor’s Office is located in Chadron, Nebraska. 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.


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”.