Nebraska National Forest

The Nebraska National Forest is a United States National Forest located within the U.S. state of Nebraska. The total area of the national forest is 141,864 acres, or 222 sq miles (574 km2). The forest is managed by the U.S. Forest Service's Nebraska Forests and Grasslands Supervisor's Office in Chadron, Nebraska. The national forest includes two ranger districts, the Bessey Ranger District and the Pine Ridge Ranger District. In descending order of land, the forest lies in parts of Thomas, Dawes, Blaine, and Sioux counties.

Nebraska National Forest
Nebraska National Forest, Bessey Ranger District, no. 5.jpg
The Bessey Ranger District of the Nebraska National Forest, near Halsey, Nebraska.
Map showing the location of Nebraska National Forest
Map showing the location of Nebraska National Forest
Location of Nebraska National Forest in the United States.
LocationThomas, Dawes, Blaine and Sioux counties in Nebraska, U.S.
Nearest cityChadron, NE (Pine Ridge unit); Halsey, NE (Bessey unit)
Coordinates42°44′46″N 102°54′7″W / 42.74611°N 102.90194°W / 42.74611; -102.90194Coordinates: 42°44′46″N 102°54′7″W / 42.74611°N 102.90194°W / 42.74611; -102.90194
Area141,864 acres (574.10 km2)[1]
EstablishedJuly 1, 1908[2]
Governing bodyU.S. Forest Service
WebsiteNebraska National Forest


Nebraska National Forest was established on November 15, 1907 by the consolidation of three smaller forests: Dismal River, Niobrara and North Platte National Forests.[3] At one point it was the largest man-made forest in the world, but has been surpassed by a forest in China.[4] The urban forest of Johannesburg, South Africa is often cited as the largest man-made forest, but is only the largest urban forest.[5]

Bessey Ranger DistrictEdit

The 90,000-acre (141 sq mi) Bessey Ranger District is in the Sandhills of central Nebraska. Encompassing about 63.9% of the forest's total area, it lies in parts of Thomas and Blaine counties. It was established in 1902 by Charles E. Bessey because he believed the area to have once had a natural forest and as an experiment to see if forests could be recreated in treeless areas of the Great Plains for use as a national timber reserve. This effort resulted in a 20,000-acre (80.9 km2) forest, the largest human-planted forest in the United States. Today the forest's nursery supplies 2.5 to 3 million seedlings per year. The Bessey Tree Nursery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is a local ranger district office in Halsey.

Pine Ridge Ranger DistrictEdit

The 52,000 acres (81 sq mi) Pine Ridge Ranger District is in the Pine Ridge region of northwest Nebraska. It contains about 36.1% of the forest's total area, and it lies in part of Dawes and Sioux counties. The native ponderosa forests were added to the National Forest system in the 1950s. The Soldier Creek Wilderness, a federally designated wilderness area, is in the forest.

The 6,600-acre Pine Ridge National Recreation Area is located within the ranger district.

Management and additional landsEdit

The Nebraska National Forest is managed by the Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands Supervisor's Office in Chadron. Additionally, this office manages the following public lands:

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "Land Areas of the National Forest System" (PDF). U.S. Forest Service. January 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  2. ^ "The National Forests of the United States" (PDF). Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  3. ^ Davis, Richard C. (September 29, 2005), National Forests of the United States (pdf), Forest History Society
  4. ^
  5. ^