The Chicago & Northwestern railroad’s Cowboy Line” was active for more than one hundred yearsdelivering gold from the Black Hills, transporting livestock from the ranches in the West, and carrying passengers through northern Nebraska. Now the 321-mile-long rail line is being remade into Nebraska’s first state recreational trail which, when completed, will become the nation’s longest rail-to-trail conversion. Nebraska’s Cowboy Trail: A User’s Guide is the essential companion for anyone planning to hike, bike, or ride horseback on the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail, which currently extends from Norfolk to Valentine and will eventually stretch all the way to Chadron. The trail runs through numerous communities, accommodates multiple uses, and provides an up-close look at the ecology of the Great Plainsa view too easily missed when speeding by in a car. Keith Terry’s guidebook enhances appreciation of the trail’s natural advantages with descriptions of the region’s flora and fauna and with pointers for food, lodging, and camping. He also provides brief narratives about historical events that occurred along the route. This guide illuminates a historical corridor of the Great Plains and will heighten the trail user’s experience. (20080407)
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