A demonstration of throwing an atlatl dart at a bison target during an atlatl contest at Hudson-Meng northwest of Crawford in 2013. 

Record file photo

The Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center (HMERC) invites neighbors, business owners, and tourism partners to attend a Community Tour May 12 at 10 a.m. HMERC staff will debut new educational materials and share general information about the upcoming summer season.

“Hudson-Meng is just one of many attractions in Northwestern Nebraska. We have been working to expand our outreach by creating high quality interpretive products for visitors to enjoy,” said HMERC site manager Ryan Means. “I look forward to sharing additional information with our neighbors and local tourism community on May 12.”

Please arrive at Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center by 10 a.m. After a short welcome, the center will screen a new educational film, “Unearth the Mystery at Hudson-Meng.” Chadron State College GeoCorps student intern Colton Snyder then will lead a 45-minute tour of the bone bed.

Center staff will also share information about Discovery Agent, a gaming app for youth groups and families, that is a free download from Google Play or the iOS App Store.  Users can download the app onto their tablets or other mobile devices. Once the app is downloaded, select Hudson-Meng as a mission site. Discovery Agent is completely free to play, and does not require data or WI-FI once downloaded. After it is downloaded onto your device, it can be played in remote areas without incurring data changes.

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During the spring season, the road can quickly become muddy and impassable after rain. In case of inclement weather, the Community Tour will be re-scheduled, tentatively for May 19. If you are interested in attending the tour, please send your contact information to receive notification in case of inclement weather. For more information and/or to reserve, please contact HMERC Site Manager Ryan Means at (308) 221-4162 or Recreation Program Manager Julie Johndreau at (308) 432-0330.

The HMERC is located 18 miles northwest of Crawford on the Oglala National Grassland and is managed by the USDA Forest Service, Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands. The HMERC is home to one of the most important archaeology and paleontology discoveries in North America. The bone bed enclosure houses an estimate 500+ “ancient bison” (bison antiquus) bones from 9,000 to 10,000 years ago. The site provides an exciting learning opportunity to professional archaeologists and field schools. Researchers try to answer questions such as why, who, and how the 500+ bison came to rest in one place.

The HMERC is not only an active paleo-archaeological site, but also serves as an interpretive visitor center. Forest Service Rangers and volunteers provide interpretive tours to visitors and occasionally host special programs at local state parks and at Toadstool Geologic Park during the summer months.  The visitor center is located next to the Bison Trail; a three mile trail that links the site to Toadstool Geologic Park. The trail was rated by USA Today as one of the top 10 trails to hike in the spring and appears on many “best of” lists.

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