Considered to be one of the best loess hills prairies in central Nebraska, the Gjerloff Prairie preserve offers many opportunities for people of all ages and levels of interest.
Prairie Plains purchased the Gjerloff Prairie from Eugene (Mert) and Gwen Griffith in 2002 with grant funding received from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
The Institute became acquainted with Mert while helping with a prescribed burn on his property in 1991. Prairie Plains staff assisted with subsequent fires and stored fire management equipment in the Griffith's Quonset. Mert and Gwen were also generous in allowing PPRI to harvest seeds on their pasture and in hosting SOAR (Summer Orientation About Rivers), a summer nature day camp for area students.
In 2001, the Griffiths offered to sell their Platte River bluff property to Prairie Plains, and the rest is history.
The land has open vistas, intimate small valleys and draws, steep cliffs, ravines and 0.6 mile of Platte River frontage. Because of the hill and bluff topography and the proximity to the wide Platte Valley, the preserve seems expansive. Guests can explore its many facets on or off the mowed trails and never exhaust all the opportunities for discovery.
Prescribed burning has continued on a regular basis, primarily to control the spread of eastern red cedar trees. Cedar tree clearing will continue until almost all cedars are gone. Grazing and prescribed fire are used annually to manage the diverse native prairie vegetation for purposes of enjoyment by people, native seed production and wildlife habitat.
Over eighty acres of cropland south and east of the farmstead were planted with a high-diversity prairie seed mix from 2001 through 2013 . These restorations are interesting to observe and compare to the native prairie elsewhere on the property.
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Highway 14 to Marquette corner, 4 miles west, 0.5 mile north
Latitude/Longitude: 41.012 -98.073