A three day trail ride sponsored by the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway was hosted by Audubon of Kansas on the Hutton Niobrara Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary September 25-27, 2015. Nebraska riders with Paints and Quarter Horses joined Bob McElroy, Doug Johns and Ron Klataske with Tennessee Walkers for the event organized by Al Brock of Valentine as part of the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway series of trail rides.
Trails on the sanctuary are designed for hiking and horseback riding, and they were fully utilized as riders rode the length of the woodland forests and prairie bluffs along and overlooking the Niobrara River. Rides closer to the Hutton Guesthouse included a moonlight ride on Friday evening, and a tour of the Lazy Easy Ranch on Sunday morning.
Corrals made from cedar posts and poles previously harvested as part of our cedar-thinning (forest stand improvement) program were built for the occasion, and for future use. The two guesthouses provided lodging opportunities, and other guests brought camper trailers.
After Al Brock’s overview of Outlaw Trail rides, and a discussion of the sanctuary’s stewardship by Ron Klataske, entertainment on Saturday evening was provided by prairie poet and storyteller Marci Broyhill of Dakota City, and her singer and songwriter sister, Terre Orr of Maskell, Nebraska. Rhonda Brooklander Kneifl, president of the Outlaw Trail Scenic Byway also joined us for the evening. Rhonda grew up along the Niobrara River where her parents managed a canoe outfitting and campground business south of Sparks. JoJo Kienke from the Cattlemen’s Lounge in Springview provided catered meals throughout the weekend.