Stars, Strolls, & S'mores! - 2019

The Norfolk area is full of opportunities to explore the nature of Nebraska.  The Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, and the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau want to help you discover your area trails, lakes, and wild places while highlighting the unique opportunities nighttime offers with our FREE Moon Walk event, “Stars, Strolls & S’mores.”

Traci Jeffrey, Director of the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, said, “The purpose of the moon walk is to provide a family-oriented activity that introduces the cultural and natural history of our area trails and lakes.”

The Moon Walks will be held on Wednesday evenings close to the full moon and begin at 7:30 p.m. Most Moon Walks last for 1-2 hours.  Participants will walk an average of 1 mile round trip. Each Moon Walk starts with a short introduction of that evening’s program, followed by a hike to a designated area where we enjoy presentations.  Presenters are experts in their field and are from our local community. The evening wraps up with FREE s’mores!

The first event will be held on Wednesday, May 22 at the Willow Creek State Recreation Area, southwest of Pierce, NE. Presentations include bat mist netting and moon phase craze.

The second “moon walk” will be Wednesday, June 19 at Skyview Lake in Norfolk. Presentations include Telescope 101 and Snakes of Nebraska.

The final night will be Wednesday, July 17 at the Oak Valley Wildlife Management Area, southwest of Battle Creek, NE. Presentations include night fishing and soils.

Jeffrey added, “Since the events take place close to home, we encourage everyone to join us and bring a friend.”

Event Brochure


Cowboy Trail

Work continues on the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the nation. When complete, the Cowboy Trail will span 321 miles. Portions are open to the public now. The trail starts in Norfolk, and is planned to continue across the state to Chadron.


Maskenthine Lake Recreation Area

Maskenthine Lake Recreation Area is located ten miles east of Norfolk, Nebraska in the rolling hills of north-central Stanton County.  Many activities are available here, including boating, fishing, camping, and hunting.


Willow Creek State Recreation Area

Located 1 ½ miles southwest of Pierce, scenic Willow Creek State Recreation Area draws its name from the meandering stream that feeds the Elkhorn River in Northeast Nebraska. The 1,633-acre area includes a 700-acre flood control reservoir with excellent fishing opportunities. The area also boasts picnicking, camping, boating and an 8-mile limestone hike/bike trail.


Pilger Recreation Area

This area offers excellent hiking, hunting and fishing opportunities.


Maple Creek Recreation Area

This area opened to the public on May 21, 2011 and also offers excellent hiking, camping and fishing opportunities.


Nebraska's NRDs - Outdoor Recreation Areas

Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) offer dozens of outdoor recreation areas perfect for camping, fishing, a family picnic, hiking/biking, wildlife viewing, and much more. Explore the website to find an outdoor recreation area near you, and download the app for your iOS or Android mobile device!

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LENRD Geocaching Regulations

Geocaching, also known as GPS Stash Hunt or GeoStash, involves "hiding" items, usually containers holding various "treasures" and then providing specific Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) coordinates for each "cache" on a web site. Visitors to these web sites can choose which "cache" they would like to locate using their own personal GPS. Cache searchers typically bring along their own "treasures" and make an exchange once the cache has been located.


Toxic Algae - General Information

The weekly beach Bacteria and Harmful Algal Bloom results are posted on the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy (NDEE) web page (http://www.deq.state.ne.us/).

Did you know that not all HABs are alike? 

The EPA has provided a nice quick fact sheet regarding HABs  at https://www.epa.gov/cyanohabs/learn-about-cyanobacteria-and-cyanotoxins#what3 below is a little info from that site

"Cyanotoxins can be produced by a wide variety of planktonic cyanobacteria. Some of the most commonly occurring genera are Microcystis, Dolichospermum (previously Anabaena), and Planktothrix.

Microcystis is the most common bloom-forming genus, and is almost always toxic. Microcystis blooms resemble a greenish, thick, paint-like (sometimes granular) material that accumulates along shores. Scums that dry on the shores of lakes may contain high concentrations of microcystin for several months, allowing toxins to dissolve in the water even when the cells are no longer alive or after a recently collapsed bloom.

Species of the filamentous genus Dolichospermum form slimy summer blooms on the surface of eutrophic lakes and reservoirs. Dolichospermum blooms may develop quickly and resemble green paint. In less eutrophic waters, some species also form colonies, which are large dark dots in water samples and on filters after filtration.

Planktothrix agardhii forms long, slender, straight filaments that usually remain separate but form dense surface scums. Its presence may be revealed by a strong earthy odor and the filaments are easily detected visually in a water sample." 

For further information about the BeachWatch Program, E.coli, HABs and the microcystin toxin please visit the links on the BeachWatch website. (https://deq-iis.ne.gov/zs/bw/). This information is updated weekly throughout the season.