About the Area

A man plowing rows at Bessey Nursery in the early 20th centruy



The Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands share a region reminiscent of the Old West but with all of the modern conveniences.

When visiting the Sandhills and Pine Ridge National Recreation Area in Nebraska, or the Black Hills and Badlands National Parks in South Dakota, you will be near areas managed by the National Forest.


Nebraska National Forest History

The Nebraska National Forest began in 1902 as an experiment. University of Nebraska botany professor Dr. Charles E. Bessey, with the assistance of Gifford Pinchot, first Forest Service Chief, convinced President Theodore Roosevelt to set aside two treeless tracts of Nebraska sandhills as “forest reserves."