Community Conservation: Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge Advisory Committee

As a state-based land conservation organization, the NLT’s work should be relevant to Nebraskans who live in the areas where our projects are located.  Because of this, when the NLT proposes to focus on multiple projects in a certain landscape like the Pine Ridge, it is essential that we work with local interests to create conservation criteria and pursue projects that recognize their priorities.  Criteria developed and amended by the Committee and approved by the Board will be used to guide the NLT’s selection of potential projects through a fair, transparent, and locally relevant ranking process.  The Committee will also provide ongoing advice over the years to assure that our work remains relevant to the people who live there.

Chief Dull Knife College Easement – Site of the 1879 Cheyenne Breakout

Nebraska’s scenic Pine Ridge is a rugged landscape of soaring buttes, knife-edged ridges, and deep canyons.  The region is also rich in history and western wildlife such as elk, antelope, and bighorn sheep.  These attributes make the Pine Ridge a magnet for tourism with the state’s first state park (Chadron SP), largest state park (Fort Robinson SP), our only natural national forest, and our only national grassland.  However, even with more public land than elsewhere in the state, the Pine Ridge is still mostly in private hands, where generations of ranchers have preserved a landscape that would still be recognized by the Native Americans who preceded them.  

However, traditional land ownership and use in the Pine Ridge is changing, from agriculture to recreation and development.  Private landowners can make a difference in land conservation for agriculture and wildlife through voluntary conservation easements.  By working with landowners who care about the future of their land, the Nebraska Land Trust can permanently conserve agricultural, historical, and natural resources in one of Nebraska’s most scenic, historic, and valued regions.