Stamp featuring Niobrara River goes on sale today

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s best-known canoeing river is about to get a dose of national publicity.

The Niobrara River is among 12 waterways in the nation commemorated on new U.S. postage stamps that will go on sale Tuesday.

The Niobrara joins waterways like the Upper Missouri River in Montana, the Deschutes River in Oregon and the Snake River in Wyoming among the dozen rivers selected for stamps. There are 209 national wild and scenic rivers designated in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

Bruce Kennedy of Malcolm, the president of the organization Friends of the Niobrara, said he wasn’t surprised by the river’s selection.

“The scenery on the Niobrara is just fantastic,” Kennedy said. “As far as I’m concerned, there’s no equal.”

A stretch of 76 miles of the Niobrara, from just east of Valentine to north of Newport, was named a national scenic river in 1991 by Congress. The western end of the segment is the most popular and is the site of thousands of float trips in canoes, kayaks and inner tubes. An estimated 60,000 people visited the river last year, according to the National Park Service, which oversees the scenic river with the help of a local council of landowners and government officials.

To commemorate the river’s selection for the stamp, the U.S. Postal Service will present a plaque to park service officials at 2 p.m. Friday at the post office in Valentine, at 239 N. Hall St.

The photo used on the stamp was taken by Michael Melford, who is based in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. He has contributed photos to National Geographic magazine. The photograph was taken just upriver from Berry Bridge, a popular launch site for float trips.

Last year, the park service office in Valentine celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by hosting a traveling exhibit about water and how it’s used in the U.S., as well as a water symposium. The new stamp, a first-class stamp costing 55 cents each, is available at post offices across the state.

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