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If you've made memories in a state park, Nebraskaland wants to see them
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If you've made memories in a state park, Nebraskaland wants to see them

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Portraits from the Past

The Maack family goes horseback riding at Platte River State Park in 1997.

Nebraskaland readers have shared their snapshots since 1997, when Portraits of the Past debuted in the magazine.

Issue after issue, it publishes a handful of black and whites and Kodachromes showing Nebraska’s wild side. A duck-hunting trip from the ’20s. Deer camp from the ’50s. Winter camping along the Elkhorn River. A 14-year-old trapper with a pair of muskrats.

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“We encourage readers to send in vintage photos of their hunting, fishing, camping and outdoors-type pursuits they’ve done,” said Jane Gustafson, marketing and advertising manager at the state Game and Parks Commission. “It helps people connect with the past.”

It’s remained one of the magazine’s most popular features for nearly 25 years. For every photo it publishes, there might be four that won’t see print.

And that got Gustafson and others thinking as they started planning next year’s centennial celebration of the state’s parks and recreation areas.

In the century since Chadron State Park opened, the state has added seven more state parks, 10 historical state parks and 58 recreation areas. Visitors have made millions of memories over the years and, Gustafson hopes, taken quite a few photos — because Nebraskaland now wants to see them, and then share them.

Portraits from the Past

Ted Henderson Jr. (left), Ken Henderson and Pauline Henderson visit the Fort Kearney historical site during a camping trip in the late 1960s along the Platte River. The family also visited Mormon Island and Grand Island.

The magazine is seeking submitted photos, taken at Nebraska state parks and recreation areas, to help tell the story of their past 100 years.

And it’s casting a wide net. “They can be boating, they can be fishing, they can be water skiing, they can be hunting, picnicking, camping,” she said. “Anything you can do in a park or you could do back then, that’s what we’re looking for.”

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Specifically, the magazine wants photos taken before 2000, and the older the better. Also, Gustafson said, the more the merrier.

“We’re hoping we get a lot of them. We’d love to have the problem of having too many.”

Portraits from the Past

Denny Dobson, a 10-year-old from Ames, Iowa, visited Chadron State Park in 1965 with his father, Don, mother Nancy and sisters Meg and Beth.

The magazine will devote a special spring issue to the photos, and Game and Parks will publish others on Facebook and Instagram throughout next year.

The inspiration for this project — the original Portraits from the Past — tends to show more hunting and fishing. Gustafson wants these photos to show a wider range of recreation.

“We’re definitely open. We know people have done a lot of different things in our park areas.”

Portraits from the Past

Dave Keller (left), an unidentified boy and Jim Reiselman examine the Oregon Trail marker at Ash Hollow State Historical Park in Garden County in the 1960s.

How to submit your memories and photos:

* Fill out the online form at magazine.outdoornebraska.gov/parksportraits

* Mail a print to Portraits from the Past, Nebraskaland Magazine, P.O. Box 30370, Lincoln, NE 68503-0370.

* Submissions should include the approximate date the photo was taken, the story behind the picture and, if possible, identify people and places shown.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7254 or psalter@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSPeterSalter

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