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The Crane Trust is dedicated to habitat protection, preservation, and restoration along the Big Bend Region of the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska. This habitat is critical to the survival of the endangered whooping crane, sandhill cranes, and other migratory birds.
The Crane Trust operates with a small staff, currently 10 full-time and two part-time employees. We manage 6500 acres of habitat that we own, and have conservation easements on an additional 3500 acres. Our "Big" season is March and April, when over 500,000 sandhill cranes migrate throughthe area, with each bird spending roughly 2-3 weeks here. The cranes attract approximately 45,000 birdwatchers in a 6 week period; during this time we run viewing blind tours, speaker programs, and a variety of events. During the rest of the year, our real work gets done: that is when we concentrate on habitat preservation and restoration, and research into what the cranes and other birds need to survive.
We operate two separate campuses, about 2 miles apart. Our Visitor Center is located right off of Interstate 80 and is where all of our visitors are first introduced to the Trust. The center has approximately 5 miles of hiking trails that are open to the public, and also houses the Ecologocal Services offices of the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the state of Nebraska.
The headquarters office is located on historic Mormon Island, approximately 2 miles from the visitor center. This is where the administrative offices are located, and all research is based out of this site. We have an 11 bedroom bunkhouse where researchers and interns stay, and are in the process of building two four-bedroom cabins for use for business retreats and group visits to see the crane migration in March.