Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest, Niobrara River

We also manage the BESSEY RANGER DISTRICT.

Located south of Nenzel in Cherry County, the 116,000-acre area is a fantastic representation of the unique Nebraska Sandhills prairie ecosystem.

Popular uses of the forest include hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping and bird watching. There is one small campground located on the southwestern edge of the forest and a day use site on the Niobrara River for launching small water craft. Fishing is available in the adjacent Merritt Reservoir.  

History: In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt issued a proclamation establishing the Niobrara Forest Reserve, later the Niobrara Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest. In 1971, President Richard Nixon designated the Niobrara Division the Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest.


Other Attractions

At a Glance

Usage: Light
Closest Towns: Halsey, NE; Valentine, NE; Nenzel, NE 
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Bessey Ranger District (308) 533 2257, Halsey, NE Office Hours:  Monday - Friday 8:30-5:00 CT

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Camping & Cabins

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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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Water Activities

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