In 1959 University of Nebraska–Lincoln Forestry associate professor Walter Bagley and wife, Virginia, purchased the 145-acre row crop farm with a 10-acre native prairie that is now the Prairie Pines Nature Preserve. Prairie Pines was donated to the University of Nebraska Foundation in 1992 to be “protected forever as a place that would provide a pleasant habitat for all beings—plant and animal.”
Fast-forward to a warm summer evening in August 2019. The inaugural Run Four the Pines took place at Prairie Pines hosted by Prairie Pines Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering Walt’s dream: to sustain a habitat for all living things through conservation, education, and experience to promote a lasting connection with the natural world and its resources.
The four-mile cross-country course covered only three-quarters of the property, weaving through woodlands, native prairie, and wildlife habitats occupied by masses of giant pines all of which were originally planted from seed by Walt. Under the pines, the Toddler Trot stole our hearts with a hysterical and chaotic sprint toward the finish where the kiddos were awarded with a scoop of that oh-so-cold homemade gelato from Gelato-to-Go.
The after-party greeted the participants at the finish line with the smell of tacos and brats from Roaming Tacos and Gilded Swine. To meet everyone’s hydration needs, Zipline and Saro were serving Lincoln’s best brews and cider. The pines were decorated in lights strung above conversations reliving the race, perfectly captured with the summer night’s live soundtrack by The Wildwoods.
In spirit with LTC’s longtime mission—Run • Connect • Give Back—100 percent of the race’s proceeds went to funding the proposed connecting trail segment that will extend the Murdock Trail to Prairie Pines. This connecting section of trail will grant Lincoln direct access to this wild place, as mother nature intended. By popular demand, R4P will be back next year August 8, 2020.
Eric & Mary Noel, R4P Race Directors
Pictures by Kinzee Hillis & Carter Klute
With excerpts from prairiepines.org