Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version



Hildebrand, Terri. 1996. 1996 Ecological Evaluation Cunningham Creek Potential Research Natural Area, A Final Report. Hildebrand Contracting. The Nature Conservancy Great Plains Program. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 89 pp.


The Cunningham Creek potential Research Natural Area (RNA) is located approximately 27.2 km (17 miles) east-southeasterly of Crawford, Nebraska or 40 km (25 miles) southwesterly of Chadron, Nebraska. Located on the Pine Ridge District of the Nebraska National Forest, the site is included in the Pine Ridge ecosystem of western Nebraska. Four hundred hectares (1000 acres) consisting of deciduous woodlands, pine forests, and upland prairies are located in the survey area. Inclusions of wet meadows, oak woodland, and aquatic systems intermingle in the deciduous woodland. Cattle grazing and recreation are the primary uses of the area. The purpose of this document was to provide the Nebraska National Forest with information to help determine the suitability of Cunningham Creek as a Research Natural Area. The specific areas and boundaries for evaluation were selected by the Nebraska National Forest. If established as an RNA, this area would:

  • Preserve the area as examples of the upland prairie, pine forest, and deciduous woodland communities of western Nebraska.
  • Protect important elements of biodiversity.
  • Emphasize non-manipulative research, education, observation and monitoring within the area

Provide a reference area for comparing the effects of management in similar ecosystem on the Nebraska National Forest