Ponca State Park
|Ponca State Park|
|Nebraska State Park|
|Named for: the Ponca people|
|- elevation||1,161 ft (354 m) |
|Area||2,400 acres (971 ha)|
|Management||Nebraska Game and Parks Commission|
Ponca State Park is a state park of Nebraska, USA, situated among the high bluffs and forested steep hills along the banks of the Missouri River. It is located 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Ponca in northeastern Nebraska. The park is adjacent to the Missouri National Recreational River. Originally created in 1934 from 200 acres (81 ha) of donated land, Ponca State Park and the town of Ponca itself are named after the Ponca tribe, who inhabited the area before European settlement, and whose chief, Standing Bear, won a celebrated court battle to have the Indian declared a "person" under U.S. law.
The park is noted for its biodiversity. Eastern woodland flowers such as bloodroot, Canada Violet, phlox and sweet cicely can be found growing among prairie plants, including yucca, clover, and larkspur. The wild plum and gooseberry thickets were also noted by the Lewis and Clark Expedition, who passed these bluffs with their Corps of Discovery in the summer of 1804. Forested ravines and hillsides contain bur oak, basswood, elm, black walnut and hackberry. White-tailed deer and wild turkey are commonly seen. Coyotes, red and gray foxes, raccoons and bobcats might also be spotted. This area is also known for the concentrations of waterfowl that congregate during the spring and fall migrations. The barred owl is a vocal resident, and wintering bald eagles are often sighted. Many miles of trails wind through the deep ravines and over the windswept hilltop ridges of the park.
Ponca State Park features the Three State Overlook, a scenic blufftop overlook from which guests may view the states of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. The park headquarters is a newer building containing a dining hall, gift shop, and interactive museum about Missouri River and its history. A fishing pond near park headquarters contains a variety of fish species. It has a newly built bridge along the south side and guests can fish from any side. The park contains the Oak Bluff and Turkey Ridge Campgrounds which are designated for recreational vehicles. There are also several refurbished cabins which campers may rent for a weekend. A swimming pool is available for both the campers and public north of the headquarters.
- Ponca State Park Nebraska Game and Parks Commission