A newspaper story in a 1922 issue of the Hay Springs News reported the sighting of a Loch Ness-style monster at Alkali Lake. Rumors circulated of ranchers losing cattle to the hungry beast, but no physical evidence of the creature’s questionable existence was ever discovered. We can’t confirm anything larger than good-sized snapping turtles, and large bass and catfish, swimming in the body of water now named Walgren Lake. We do know for sure that Walgren Lake State Recreation Area has camping, fishing and picnic areas. To find the lake, start at the junction of highways 87 and 20. Go south 1.8 miles on Highway 87, then turn east for three miles, then go south one mile. To find the monster ... well, you’re on your own.
Wildlife abounds in the pine forest of Metcalf Wildlife Management Area. The area is closed to motorized vehicles, but hiking is allowed, as is camping at primitive sites. To find it, take Highway 20 to the east edge of Hay Springs and follow the county road seven miles north.
Two local landmarks have important historical significance. The Beaver Wall escarpment is in the middle of the Spotted Tail Agency and old Camp Sheridan. Spotted Tail was a famous Lakota (Sioux) leader and a contemporary of Crazy Horse. From the top of Beaver Wall, you can see the buttes of Crawford 50 miles to the southwest and the outline of the Black Hills 75 miles to the northwest. To find it, go 10 miles north of Highway 20 on the county road at the west edge of Hay Springs. Sheridan Gates is the local name for two large buttes through which adventurous early settlers and military soldiers passed. Their wagon ruts are still visible. The buttes stand west of Beaver Wall.
For more information on Hay Springs, contact the Hay Springs Chamber of Commerce. (308) 638-7275.