Nebraska State Park Fort Robinson Holds Extensive History Throughout United States Wars.
Fort Robinson, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Deb Kennedy, Sioux wars, Indian wars
MRV: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written By: Jared Langenegger.
Former World War Post: Fort Robinson
Nebraska State Park Holds Extensive History Of Playing Roles In Several American Wars, Yet Now Is A Peaceful And Beautiful Destination
In 1873, the Red Cloud Agency, an Indian Agency for Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapahoe, was relocated to a spot overlooking the White River in northwestern Nebraska. To maintain order and provide protection during the Sioux Wars, a military camp was established in 1874 which evolved into Fort Robinson. “Fort Robinson was originally built to protect the Red Cloud Agency, which was a trading post for the Native Americans”, explained Deb Kennedy Assistant Superintendent at Fort Robinson State Park. The fort and surrounding 22,000 acres are now operated as a state park under the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
“The fort has gone through many transitions as an army post”, stated Ms. Kennedy “It started out as an important post during the Indian Wars”. Fort Robinson has a rich history in the old west, in 1877 Sioux Chief Crazy Horse was killed with a bayonet while resisting confinement at a guard house in Fort Robinson. The fort was also the site of the 1879 Cheyenne Outbreak.
Fort Robinson played an important role in both World Wars. “In World War I Fort Robinson served as the largest remount depot in the world at the time. A remount depot is where they bring horses and mules in and they are trained and inoculated and sent out to different areas of the war. As mechanisms such as jeeps came along, there wasn’t as much use for the horses and during World War II, the fort was transitioned to training dogs, and unfortunately some of the horses became food for those dogs. Around the same time as they were training dogs, Fort Robinson also served as a German prisoner of war camp, which only lasted a couple of years”, explained Ms. Kennedy. “After the wars, there wasn’t much of a need for the fort and it was handed over to the USDA and used for biological research. They didn’t need all of the space and some of the buildings began to deteriorate due to lack of repair. At that time, the local citizens approached the Nebraska Game and Parks Department to have the fort turned into a state park.”
The park has a variety of activities and lodging options available and has proven to be quite popular for family reunions. “One of the reasons we are so popular is the lodging we can offer for families. Almost all of our buildings are original, meaning they were built in the late 1800s to early 1900s”, said Ms. Kennedy. The buildings on the fort were originally utilized for housing troops and officers that were stationed Fort Robinson, they have been restored and are now rented out to visitors of the park. “We have little cabins that you can sleep six in with kitchenettes all the way up to our huge building that we call Comanche Hall which sleeps 60 people.”
A plethora of outdoor activities are available to visitors to the park. “We have so many activities for families to enjoy, they can come out and go camping, fishing, hiking, biking, trail riding, we even have stage coach rides”, touted Ms. Kennedy. “It’s a wonderful place to fish and we are also known for our hunting. Our fishing ponds are stocked on a regular basis. There are two rivers crossing the area, one is Soldier Creek a small little trickle and the other is White River where we offer kayaks and tubing. Turkey and deer hunting are very popular, there are a lot of turkey hunts in the spring and deer hunting in the fall. The park is closed to hunting during the busy season from Memorial Day to Labor Day”.
With 22,000 acres, there is plenty of space to explore. The park keeps portions of the old west history alive with their Bison and Texas Longhorn herds. “In the bison herd, we have about 110-150 animals depending on the year. We raise them in the park and they are able to roam freely in our various pastures. Guests are able to drive through the pasture and view the bison. We do butcher a small amount of the animals and we serve bison meat in our restaurant for the guests. We also have descendants of the original Texas longhorns, they are registered longhorns and we keep track of every baby and mother. Every fall, we have an auction where we will sell the excess longhorn, bison, and a few burros that we have here”, explained Ms. Kennedy.
When asked about her thoughts on Fort Robinson and why she chooses to work here, Ms. Kennedy responded, “I love working with people, and you get to meet people from all over the world here. We have historians that have heard about the fort and want to experience it, we have large family groups, we have the equestrian facilities that bring in large equestrian groups. So, I love the people, but mostly it is one of the most beautiful areas the state of Nebraska has to offer, you have gently rolling plains with the pine buttes, bright blue skies, the green grass, it is very peaceful and it’s not crowded. The beauty of it and the nature, I’m a photographer, and you couldn’t find any better place to come out and photograph the wildlife and the landscape.”
A graduate of New Mexico State University with BS in wildlife and fisheries biology Jared spent 15 years working in fisheries and parks management. He enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, painting, and wood working.
Make Sure You Stay At:
Glendo State Park, which is one of southern Wyoming’s most popular boating parks. It offers visitors water-skiing, fishing and other water-based activities. Glendo State Park is also quickly becoming a trails destination.