One of Lincoln’s jewels is Wilderness Park. With all its rich diversity which includes hundreds of native bird species and as many native plant species along with mammals, reptiles, amphibians and insects, this is an area that needs the ongoing support, protection, and conservation of all of us. The history of Wilderness Park dates back to the earliest Native Americans, the pioneers on the Oregon Trail cutoff, wagon routes , railroads, an amusement park, an auto camp, several forgotten towns, outposts and more. This 15 mile long linear wilderness green space has over 20 miles of trails to explore by foot, on bike, or by horse. It follows Salt Creek where salt deposits can still be viewed on the west banks and is the primary reason Lincoln was established here in the first place. Salt from underground springs and wells was harvested to preserve meats for the settlers and those embarked on the continuing western movement. Pioneers Park is on the Haines Branch, a heavily wooded riparian saline tributary that joins Salt Creek near 1st and Park Street now Wilderness Park Day Camp, formerly a Boy Scouts of America camp. The Haines Branch runs along the western boundary of the Pioneers Park Nature Center where bison skulls dating back 5000 years have been discovered. Hundreds of bison teeth and vertebrate have been recovered by children “creeking” at Nature Center events. Today Wilderness Park provides an easy escape from the city to a peaceful retreat among nature.
Find out more about Wilderness Park and how you can help to preserve it at Friends of Wilderness Park, www.friendsofwildernesspark.net .