Nebraska Passport program features area stops

The Department of Economic Development’s Travel and Tourism Division is once again hosting its “Passport” program, and this year five area entities have been included on the list. Designed to encourage travel and tourism across Nebraska, the Passport program includes a number of specialized tours. Broken Bow’s own Arrow Hotel is one of the stops featured on the Unique Accommodations Tour. The Culinary Tour includes Sandstone Grill of Burwell, and the Calamus Fish Hatchery is included on the Family Fun Tour. Two Sandhills attractions are also featured in the program; the Nebraska National Forest in Halsey on the Parks Tour, and Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental in Mullen on the Water Adventure Tour. Here’s how the Passport Program works. The program is designed to encourage people to get out and explore the state, with 10 themed tours on the 2012 Passport schedule. It includes 80 stops, from one end of the state to the other. Travelers can pick up their “passport” at any of the locations included on one of the tours. When you visit one of the stops on the tour have your passport stamped. Then, at the end of the program, mail in your entry sheet for prizes. The program begins May 1, and ends Sept. 30. Each participant who completes a tour will receive a 2012 Nebraska Passport T-shirt. Each tour features eight stops, and eight opportunities to have your passport stamped. Those who turn in their entry form with 25 stamps will receive a $25 GROW Nebraska gift card. Getting 40 stamps will earn you a Canon Power Shot digital camera. All completed entries will be eligible for the grand prize drawing for an Apple iPad. Featured on the Unique Accommodations Tour, the historic Arrow Hotel in downtown Broken Bow was built in 1928, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The hotel features 23 suites and rooms. The Sandstone Grill in Burwell, one of the featured stops on the Culinary Tour, is owned and operated by two sisters who purchased the business in 2005. They restored the hardwood floors and tin ceiling to give the restaurant the same type of historic feel found in the old Burwell Hotel, which is attached to the restaurant through French doors. The Calamus Fish Hatchery, located at the base of the Calamus Dam, is one of the stops featured on the Family Fun Tour. Also located at Burwell, Passport participants can take advantage of getting two stamps in one location. A parks tour through Nebraska just wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Nebraska National Forest in Halsey, one of the eight stops featured on the Passport Parks Tour. The largest man-made forest in the U.S., the National Forest at Halsey began in 1902 as an experiment to produce trees and plant them. The forest features a full campground, hiking and biking trails, and trails for ATV adventures. The Scott Lookout Tour is open to the public, and allows visitors to see for miles from the tree tops. The forest is also home to the Nebraska State 4-H Camp. A lot of people might not think of the Sandhills when planning water sports, but Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental of Mullen made the list of eight designated stops on the Water Adventure Tour. Whether shooting some rapids on the Dismal River in a kayak, or leisurely floating down the Middle Loup River in a stock tank, Glidden’s offers a water adventure for just about everyone. All equipment for your adventure is furnished, and camping or lodging is available. Daily trips range in price from $36 to $60. The Nebraska Passport program is designed to be fun and simple for participants, and takes just three easy steps. 1. Pick up a passport booklet and prize-entry sheet from a participating attraction. 2. Get your souvenir booklet and the prize-entry sheet stamped at each participating attraction you visit. 3. When your travels are finished, mail in your prize-entry sheet to receive your prizes. For a complete list of rules for the program, visit