Across Nebraska's typically treeless landscape, a network of tree oases have been developed through the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
These sites range from the humble, with few trees, to the expansive like the Nebraska National Forest (Bessey District).
The hand-planted forest and arboretum near Halsey can be a lovely area to take in the fall colors of prairie grasses and trees.
Thanks to healthy rains in a generally arid area, colors this year have been especially striking at the Bessey District of the forest, said district ranger Timothy Buskirk.
Many dozens of varieties of trees have been planted in the Bessey Arboretum, he said. Fall colors of red, gold, orange and even pink can be found interspersed with the deep green of ponderosa pine, he said.
“It's pretty amazing,” Buskirk said.
Hiking, biking, horseback riding and hunting are among the activities allowed in the Bessey District. Dogs are welcome as long as they're on a leash, Buskirk said.
The campground at Bessey reopened Thursday after being closed during the partial government shutdown.
Potable water will be available from the recreation building seven days a week through November. Water to the showers and campsites has been shut off for the season.
Click here for a map of arboretum sites.