Not-so-hidden gems of the Great Plains: prairie dogs, flights of fancy, and bison rebirth, oh my!

Niobrara Riverview Retreats

Niobrara Riverview Retreats, photo courtesy Steve Hansen

By Maria Nazos, Ecotourism Project Team, UNL Graduate Student (English), Center for Great Plains Studies

Often dismissed as a “flyover” area, the Great Plains’ beauty and biodiversity sometimes goes unnoticed. Here at, we want to make sure our beloved terrain receives the attention it deserves. In this series of blogs, we are showcasing our coalition members whose conservation efforts are depicted throughout Katie Nieland’s signature ecotourism posters. Each image features a different aspect of the Great Plains’ environmental wonders.

In this inaugural blog, we feature two of our coalition members whose attractions include our Prairie Dog, Bison Rebirth, and Flights of Fancy-themed posters. This time around we are focusing on the World Wildlife Fund and Niobrara Riverview Retreat. Although these prairie gems are nestled amid rustic beauty, they are far from hidden. In fact, they are accessible, fun, and green.

A tireless organization of preservation, The World Wildlife Fund works to promote conservation in many areas ranging from the Amazon to the Northern Great Plains, including parts of the Nebraska Sandhills such as the Niobrara area, home to Niobrara Riverview Retreats. This retreat is one gem that is worth staying at overnight and enjoying the scenery and attractions. The retreat specializes in group lodging that can comfortably house 10-64 people for a broad range of events including family getaways, sports camps, and church retreats.

To boot, The Niobrara Riverview Retreat offers a range of river-based activities such as canoeing and tubing. If you would rather stay on dry land, the area is rife with local attractions including the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge. Spanning 19,131 acres of untouched prairie beauty, visitors will revel in elk, buffalo, prairie dogs, and countless species of birds. You might even consider a day trip to the South Dakota Badlands.

To became a coalition member, we encourage any interested Great Plains-based green organizations to get in touch with us. We are always happy to talk further with folks who might qualify as potential members.