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Passport program features three sites
May 06, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Anyone who wants to relax on a sandy beach, learn about state’s unique history, or visit museums featuring world-renown artists, can take advantage of the 2016 Nebraska Passport Program.

This year’s program features 80 different sites on 10 themed tours. Themes of interest include Find Your Park, Rise ‘N Shine, Where Art Thou, Order Up!, How It’s Made, Flavors of Nebraska, Prairie Treasure, Earth and Sky, Nebraska On Film, and Rise Above. A full list of stops can be found online at nebraskapassport.com.

Three local sites are participating in this year’s program through the Nebraska Tourism Commission. One of them is the Blue Stem Shop, now in its second year of operation at 1818 Broadway in downtown Scottsbluff.

“This is the first time we’ve selected for the program,” said Blue Stem co-owner Jill Marsh. “We have passports available here for people who want to make the tour around the state.”

The Blue Stem Shop is described as a “unique shop” that offers pottery, yard art, the ever-popular chalk paint, one-of-a-kind furniture and lots of other unique gifts for any occasion.

Also in this year’s passport list, for the first time, is Brown Sheep Company, a family owned business at 100662 County Road 16 in Mitchell.

Peggy Wells said it’s really her daughter-in-law Brittany who was responsible for making the connections with tourism commission that eventually led to their inclusion in the program.

“It’s a real honor to be selected,” Wells said. “We’re looking forward to this new venture, as it’s always good to see more people visit the area.”

Visitors stopping by Brown Sheep Company can learn how wool yarn is made, take a tour of the mill, and shop in their outlet store.

Another well-known historic site, Scotts Bluff National Monument, is on the list for the second year. “This is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service,” said Ranger Lisa Blanco. “That makes the event even better.”

Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the Oregon-California Trail and local history all while taking in breathtaking scenery of the bluffs area.

“There’s also a great video show in our visitor center that gives a great history of the area,” Blanco said. “This is an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.”

Visitors have their passports stamped at each location they visit and prize packages will be awarded by the Nebraska Tourism Commission at the end of the season.

In addition to picking up a passport at participating sites, people can also download a free passport app from the Apple Store and Google Play. Just search for NE Passport. More information on the program is available at the commission’s website.

“One of the most rewarding parts of the program is helping Nebraskans feel a greater connection to their state, or helping an out-of-state traveler discover a new favorite spot,” said Passport Program Coordinator Amanda Barker.
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