Photo by Nebraska Tourism

Summer is the peak season for Western Nebraska tourism, but Oshkosh is also popular during the fall and winter months. Oshkosh is known the world over as the Goose Hunting Capital of Nebraska. Several local hunting outfitters accommodate sportsmen from around the world.

Oshkosh also is a point of departure for Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge, located deep in the remote and beautiful Sandhills Lakes country. The 46,000-acre refuge is 30 miles north of Oshkosh and includes 21 shallow and scenic natural lakes.

It was established primarily as a migratory bird refuge. Canada geese, snow geese, grouse and pheasants, prairie chickens, owls, eagles, American avocets, black-crowned night herons and ducks are among the 200 bird species observed there. Wildlife photographers, bird watchers, hikers, backpackers, wildflower buffs and other outdoor enthusiasts seek out the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge to spend time in a landscape nearly unchanged from when the first wagon trains tried to skirt the region of sand, wetlands and grass considered as foreboding to those early travelers.

Attention hunters: the area is rich with grouse, pheasants and mule deer. Anglers enjoy the lakes’ crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill and carp. Colorful box turtles plod along this land, along with harmless bullsnakes which make meals of the region’s kangaroo rats. Panoramic views of the Nebraska Sandhills here provide a glimpse of what early pioneers must have witnessed before settlements were common.

Other local attractions include the Oshkosh Swimming Pool, 200 E. First St., which offers swimming in a heated pool; the Oshkosh Country Club, a nine-hole course near the North Platte River, one mile south of town on Highway 27; and the Garden County Museum.

The museum includes the Silverhill Theatre at 501 W. First St., and the Rock School, a century-old stone schoolhouse at 215 W. Avenue G. The museum houses pioneer and Native American artifacts, fossils and an amazing stuffed wild bird collection of more than 300 specimens.

For more information on Oshkosh, contact the Garden County Visitors Committee. www.visitgardencounty.com.