Merritt Reservoir, NE

It’s merely out of the way, not wilderness, but the few descriptions I’ve read talk about white sandy beaches (i.e., not the silty goo that some large reservoirs have). There are several areas to camp around the shoreline.

I’ve only heard about it from one person who’s paddled there. Anybody from pnet been there?

Not Merit, But…
…that area around Valentine, NE area is great! The Neobrara River, the friendliness of the people, the wide open spaces, the sandhills, I love Nebraska. We’re thinking about going back to Valentine and spending more time in the area this year. If we do, we’ll get over to Merit and see more of the Neobrara. BTW, there’s an excellent wildlife refuge where I got some really good elk pics. Heres a few pics of the area. WW

Looks like the Black Hills country
That is one huge elk! Nice shot.

I had a few NE brochures lying around, and the area around Chadron also looks interesting for outdoor activities.

When I called the state office, the woman who answered told me that dispersed camping is not allowed around Merritt, but there are many developed areas to camp, some of which are very close to the water.

Very Similar
Kind of funny, you’re in the Sandhills and when you get close to the Neobrara the landscape changes. You won’t find more friendly people than Valentine. Two examples:

Pulled into the Valentine Visitor center at about 5:02 pm. The teenaged girl noticed us, unlocked the door, and graciously helped us locate a last-minute place to stay. All our attempts to try to hurry up so she could go home were met with “That’s o.k., I’m in no hurry, my job is to help you.” WOW!

Second instance was the teenaged boy who carried our meager groceries out for us (He wouldn’t take “No” for an answer). He noted our canoe and gave us all kinds of Neobrara “Tips” and insisted that we wait while he went back in to get us a different map than the one we had and show us some more area attractions.

Not to mention that the owner of the motel we stayed in spent a half hour or more helping us set up the WI FI on my wife’s new laptop. That was just three of SEVERAL acts of kindness we enjoyed there. The place was like Mayberry RFD! It’s a darn shame we haven’t been back in 3 years, but I guess we need to remedy that! I don’t think you could go wrong spending some time in that area.


OK, I’m going
It’s always nice to hear accounts such as the ones you posted. Your Mayberry comparison is right on, because the one other time I was in Nebraska, I stopped for lunch at a place called Aunt Bea’s. I noticed that all the cars were parked near it, smelled delicious scents drifting out, and that was enough to convince me. Great food, low price, the kind of food you rarely find anymore because it’s slow-cooked from scratch.

If I get the timing right, I can also see some of the great migrating bird flocks. The website noted that sandhill cranes, snow geese, piping plovers, and others come through.

Now to finish some projects here and figure out when would be best to go. At this point, all I know is it’ll be in spring.

Nebraska, Great Plains, ticks?
I lived in Omaha for a couple of years not too long ago and how nice the people were was so noticeable.

I went and saw the Crane migration but never made it to Merritt. I had heard though that the beaches had expanded greatly as drought had the water levels way down. Water is a serious concern there.

As much as I liked it there one thing I did not care for was the Great Plains and all that grass = lots of ticks.

For those of you that have been there frequently - how do you deal with that? At least they aren’t deer ticks. I can often feel a dog tick on me, but not a deer tick. Dog ticks don’t carry lyme either I don’t think.

I don’t live in the Great Plains, but on a farm in the Ozarks and ticks are a fact of life you just deal with. From late March (I’ve picked several off already this year) through October.

We always spray our ankles and shoes with bug dope (I actually prefer the dogs Adams flea and tick spray), use the monthly Frontline on the dogs, and accept the fact that we still will get a few. Tick-borne illnesses are not all that common, but you just watch for rashes or fever. Just something you accept as a part of “Country” life. I’ll take ticks over city traffic and sirens ANY day! WW

I have not been to Merritt specifically, but I love the whole Valentine area. I’d like to go up this spring and do 2-3 days on the Niobrara. The Dismal River is also close by and very nice. Although the Dismal is more challenging than the Niobrara.

Reservoir is at 100% now
That ought to drown a few ticks. :wink:

I’ve heard nothing but nice stuff about Nebraska people. And I just found out that Merritt Reservoir is so far away from large towns that it hosts an annual star party that sounds like lots of fun, even if you’re not an astronomy nut.

I don’t own a telescope, but I’ll bring binocs, tripod, and planisphere. And birding guide. And, of course, my kayak!

After 6 months of not going beyond 35 miles from my home, I am sooooo ready for a spring trip. Especially to someplace new (to me) and not heavily developed.