The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

SPNRD Offers Trees for Fairgrounds


August 15, 2018

The Cheyenne County Fair Board has the opportunity to spruce up the fairgrounds, maybe literally.

Imagine if the fairgrounds were accented with strategically placed trees, trees that compliment the facility appearance of the grounds, offer natural shade and are a buffer for erosion. Imagine the natural beauty that happens when the proper trees are planted around the fairgrounds.

Galen Wittrock, assistant manager of the South Platte Natural Resources District, was a guest at the Cheyenne County Fair Board meeting Aug. 6. At the meeting, Wittrock talked about the Community Forestry program. The Community Forestry program offers 50 percent cost-sharing to urban homeowners, neighborhood groups, villages and cities to help pay for the cost of purchasing, planting, maintaining and removing trees.

He told the Fair Board it is a 50 percent landscape program that includes an effort at getting the right trees for the fairgrounds.

“I can work with you on getting the right trees,” Wittrock said.

According to the SPNRC website, the applicant’s share can come from private funding, community grants, the community’s budget and in some cases donated labor. He added it is possible in-kind work can be used to account for the 50 percent tree cost.

Wittrock said the Community Forestry program requires a 10-year agreement that the new trees would be maintained. He suggested installing a drip system, adding mulch for each new tree and pruning the trees. Care for the new trees is critical, he said.

“It’s really a simple program,” Wittrock said.

The availability of trees is contingent partly on program funding, according to Wittrock. The application is not due until 2019.

“We take applications up to February of each year,” Wittrock added.

He said the NRD makes its decision on grant applications in March.

The NRD also provides containerized and bare-root tree seedlings to plant farmstead windbreaks, shelterbelts and wildlife habitat. According to the SPNRD, the organization has sold more than 4 million trees and shrubs since 1977. In 2002, the organization reached an an all-time high of more than 350,000 trees.


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