In the past few posts I showed photos of scenes that many people will recognize. But as I wander around in “nowhere” doing geodashing I often encounter interesting scenes that probably few people have seen so I’ll include some of these in posts as well.
This is a location that few people get anywhere near (the Sandhills of Nebraska) and this particular shot was also about 10 miles on a primitive ranch road where I probably shouldn’t have been. This comes from one of my earliest geodashing trips where I hadn’t yet learned that just because a road is on some map doesn’t mean it’s public access. Not only might some such roads be “trespassing” but also getting stuck out there (almost did while getting this shot) might be very difficult to get rescued.
The Sandhills can be quite beautiful especially with dramatic weather elements added. This is a very large area; some sources say it’s the largest area of sand dunes in the world. What’s different, say compared to a typical desert, is: a) there is enough precipitation that grass covers most of the dunes so you don’t realize they’re there, and, b) the unique geology results in a high water table and thus a lot of ponds, like the one in this photo.
The Sandhills are both remote and sparsely populated as there is little economic activity there to allow residents, just a bit of ranching and not much else. I heard a story, quite possibly not true, that Ted Turner was buying up a lot of this land. As times have changed it’s even harder to be economically viable than when this area was first settled so many young people have moved away and thus often the large ranches are up for sale. Ted Turner was willing to buy a lot of them but that also created some hostility to him and many ranchers said they’d never sell to him.
Apparently the idea was that he could accumulate enough land to eventually “donate” it the US government in order to create some sort of National Park, which would be nice. Back when there were stiff inheritance taxes rich guys like Turner were looking for gimmicks to offset their gains (in his case, mostly CNN). Some of the area of the Tetons National Park was the Rockefeller family donating their private reserves, at current market value! (not the purchase price) to offset other capital gains. Had Turner assembled enough land to create a national park then value would have been much greater than what he had to pay so he could have taken a big tax writeoff.
Well either he never bought enough land to do this or the near abolition of estate taxes on rich people made it unnecessary for him to find a tax offset. Supposedly, now stuck with a lot of land he started raising bison who can live in this environment. Then he had to create a restaurant chain to try to sell the meat.
Anyway it can be quite pretty out there but one needs to be careful where one drives, either to avoid angry ranchers or to avoid getting stuck in the sand and be stranded.