Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Nebraska Sandhills

The Nebraska sandhills are the largest dune field in North America. The once actively shifting hills of sand now lay dormant, stabilized by grasses. Ever been there? I'm in love with it. Completely golden in the winter and green in the summer.

Standing atop a one hundred foot dune, the wind blows reminding me of the winds that blew these mounds of sand around for thousands of years. Windmills and barbed wire fences dot the landscape while the rest is free from tool or pesticide.

Much of Nebraska has been torn, leveled, monocropped, sprayed, and stripped of all things beautiful, free, and natural. Why? Because people want lots of beef. It's true. Two percent of the tall grass prairie remains. That means 98% of Nebraska has been misappropiated by machines. Because sand is not a prime spot to grow crops, the sandhills have been used primarily by ranchers. The grazing of cattle does have an impact on biodiversity of plant life as well as other erosional factors but next to the rest of the state, this land is almost a relict. A representation of the land in which buffalo once roamed and Indian hunted; land that was stolen and settled by Europeans, one of whom was my great-grandfather Heinrich in 1914 by way of the Homestead Act.

Don't be lazy! The first dune is only three hours northwest of Omaha.

1 comment:

Midnight Society said...

Hooray for Nebraska! Makes me homesick. I'll have to take a trip up through the Sandhills when I get a free weekend.