U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
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Fort Niobrara
National Wildlife Refuge


A bison bull sits amongst yellow sunflowers and prairie grasses.
HC 14 Box 67
Valentine, NE   69201
E-mail: fortniobrara@fws.gov
Phone Number: 402-376-3789
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
http://www.fws.gov/refuge/fort_niobrara/
Many of the natural behaviors and traits of bison can be seen today on Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.
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  Overview
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is 19,131 acres in size and is located 4 miles east of the city of Valentine along the Niobrara River.

The Refuge offers many activities for visitors. Bison, elk, deer, and prairie dogs can be seen along the wildlife drive at all times of the year. Interpretive displays at the visitor center describe the history and ecology of the area. Hiking trails lead to Fort Falls and, for the more adventurous, into the Niobrara River Wilderness Area. Canoeing or tubing through down the Niobrara National Scenic River is a popular activity on the Refuge.


Getting There . . .
Fort Niobrara NWR is located about 5 miles east of Valentine, Nebraska, on U.S. Highway 12. The visitor center is about 1½ miles from the Refuge entrance. Various directional signs are located along the route.


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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

This region of the country is the point of convergence of six distinct ecosystems.

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History
Once a military fort, Fort Niobrara NWR was established by Executive Order in January 1912 as a "preserve and breeding ground for native birds." Its purpose was expanded later that same year to include the preservation of bison and elk herds representative of those that once roamed the Great Plains.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Fishing
Interpretation
Photography
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Fort Niobrara NWR management includes many diverse techniques. Through the grassland and fenced management program, the bison and elk herds are managed under natural conditions to assure a genetically sound breeding population, provide appropriate viewing opportunities for public enjoyment, and support scientific studies.

Grassland habitat management strategies are designed to maintain or improve grassland health and provide forage for bison and elk. Approximately 50 miles of interior fence and 50 miles of boundary fence (perimeter, river corridor, and road right-of-way) are used to control timing of grazing and movement of the fenced animals. In addition, prescribed fire plays a significant role in the management of these native grasslands.

Other habitat management on the Refuge strives to maintain the existing diversity and abundance of various native birds and other wildlife by providing a mosaic of habitat conditions. Biological monitoring of native birds and other wildlife is carried out to the greatest extent possible with current staffing and management priorities.