- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska tourism officials said they’ve seen an uptick in the number of participants in a program that challenges travelers to explore the state and receive stamps in a passport-like book along the way.

The Nebraska Tourism Commission selected 80 stops throughout the state for its 2016 program, challenging travelers to explore Nebraska and collect stamps proving they’ve been to each site, according to the Scottsbluff Star-Herald (https://bit.ly/2eDeZ1J ).

The tourism commission said more than 26,000 travelers participated in the Nebraska Tourism Passport program and 1,292 passports were submitted for prizes, more than double the amount submitted in 2015. Prizes include T-shirts, duffel bags, selfie sticks, coffee mugs and gift baskets containing Nebraska-made products.

Passport sites change each tourism season. This season stops included Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Harrison, Scotts Bluff National Monument and the Mignery Sculpture Garden in Bartlett. The most visited stop on the challenge this year was the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron.

Margaret and Lucien Kicken of Scottsbluff participated in the program for the last two years. This year, they were among 168 participants who managed to get stamps from all 80 stops.

“Last year, we only made 43,” Margaret Kicken said. “We had so much fun we thought we’d try some more.”

Although they did not win any prizes, the couple said that they’re not disappointed.

“What fun we had! Nobody has a better life than we do,” Margaret Kicken said. “Next year we’re going to see all the wineries.”

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Information from: Star-Herald, https://www.starherald.com


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