NIOBRARA, Neb. A donation of land by a Nebraska family helped make it possible for people to enjoy a new wildlife management area (WMA), which will be one of the largest in the state. The Tom Hastings familys gift to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) of 227 acres along the Missouri River was critical to Ducks Unlimited selling NGPC the rest of the land to create the 1,200-acre WMA, near Niobrara in Knox County.

The Hastings family was honored recently at the dedication of a cairn on the site in northeast Nebraska.

The Hastings gift is particularly important to Nebraska because public land is hard to find along the river. Ducks Unlimited is pleased to have helped provide this access for Nebraskans, said Terry Kostinec, DU director of development. Together with the adjoining park and game area, this will create 7,300 acres of NGPC land, the agencys largest contiguous public access on the Missouri.

The new WMA adjoins the Niobrara State Park, with 1,600 acres, and the Bazile Creek Game Management Area, with 4,500 acres.

The project will improve wetland habitat important for migrating waterfowl refueling and resting Ducks Unlimited will restore the WMAs rich wetland properties choked by cattail and invasive reeds. DU will enhance the habitat in many ways, including by excavating in the wetlands and removing roads.

The project is being funded by grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, NGPC, partners and Ducks Unlimited donors.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.8 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit

Media Contact:
Becky Jones Mahlum