LINCOLN, Neb. – Access to Memphis State Recreation Area in Saunders County is closed until further notice while extensive tree damage from last weekend’s storm is cleared.

No injuries were reported from the Saturday night storm that also damaged structures in the park.

Campers in that area can find sites at Fremont Lakes SRA in Dodge County, Two Rivers SRA in Douglas County, and Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park and Louisville SRA in Cass County. Read the Nebraska State Parks Guide at outdoornebraska.gov/parks for more details.

For the latest information, visit outdoornebraska.org.


Summit Lake sediment basin reclamation set to begin

LINCOLN, Neb. – Summit Lake is being drawn down this week for a sediment basin reclamation project at the Burt County reservoir.

Reclamation of the sediment basins on the south and west arms of the lake will begin during the fall. The south boat ramp will be modified to allow boat access during construction, which should be completed by Jan. 1, 2022.

The project to remove sediments will require the reservoir be drawn down approximately 6-8 feet below normal pool levels. Beginning the week of Aug. 9, the lake is being drawn down 1-2 feet. The remainder of the drawdown will begin Aug. 16.

The sediment retention basin structures have performed admirably since they were built, reducing sedimentation and nutrient inputs into the main reservoir. To assist continued aquatic habitat and water quality benefits for the reservoir, maintenance now is needed because of a buildup of sediments in the basins over this time.

“We appreciate the patience and cooperation of anglers and boaters during this reclamation project as we strive to protect Summit Lake for future recreational use,” said Daryl Bauer, fisheries outreach program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Hunters may enter lottery for deer hunting access on the central Platte

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hunters may enter a lottery to gain deer hunting access to Platte River Recreation Access lands in the central Platte River Valley, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Forty-seven hunters will be chosen from a random drawing in early September and allowed to hunt deer on designated PRRA lands Nov. 16-21, 2021.

Applications, limited to one per person, will be accepted by mail or drop box at the Game and Parks service center in Kearney through 5 p.m. Aug. 31. Hunters can apply to hunt three areas but will receive permission on only one area if drawn. Two hunters may submit a buddy application to ensure they both are on the same area if drawn. Lottery winners will be notified by Sept. 20. Hunters are required to obtain the appropriate deer permit and habitat stamp in order to hunt.

PRRA lands are closed to all access from Oct. 9 to Nov. 15. More information and a map showing the available areas can be obtained at platteaccess.org, by calling 308-865-5338 or emailing [email protected].

PRRA lands are lands purchased by the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program for the restoration and maintenance of habitat for whooping cranes, least terns and piping plovers in the central Platte River Valley. The PRRA program allows limited access to these properties when access will not disturb these species.

More information on the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program can be found at platteriverprogram.org/good-neighbors.

Hunters Helping the Hungry meat processors to accept deer donations starting Sept. 1

LINCOLN, Neb. – Hunters may begin donating deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program Sept. 1, the start of the archery deer season. Nine processors will be available around the state. Two additional processors will accept deer for the program starting Nov. 13.

Hunters pay no processing costs for deer accepted by processors for this donation-driven program.

The participating meat processors are: Amherst – Belschner Custom Meats; Diller – Diller Locker; Franklin – Franklin Locker; Grand Island – Nielsen’s Processing; Johnson – Pelican’s Processing (starting Nov. 13); Lindsay – Melcher’s Locker; North Bend – North Bend Locker (starting Nov. 13); North Platte – Kelley’s Custom Pack; Spalding – Bernt’s Custom Processing; Table Rock – Den’s Country Meats; Ulysses – The Butchery.

The HHH program is funded solely by tax-deductible contributions. Ground venison is distributed by charitable organizations to Nebraskans in need. Hunters should first talk with processors but may keep antlers, head and cape and donate the rest of the deer. Processors accept only whole deer in good condition to ensure a good yield of pure ground venison.

Learn more about the program and how to support it at OutdoorNebraska.org/HHH or contact program coordinator Teresa Lombard at 402 471-5430 [email protected].


Enjoy history reenactment Aug. 14 at Fort Hartsuff SHP’s Fall Muster

LINCOLN, Neb. – Enjoy a day of historical reenactments Aug. 14 during Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park’s Fall Muster.

The day, themed War and Remembrance: An Event Following Little Bighorn, will include reenactors portraying roles of the fort in the 1870s. There will be a skirmish, military drills, cannon firing, mock surgeries, flag raising, blacksmithing and a vintage baseball game. Activities begin at 9 a.m.

There will be activities for children, food vendors and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations.

Admission is $2 for ages 13 and up and $1 for ages 3-12. A vehicle park entry permit also is required.

The park is located 6 miles southeast of Burwell in Valley County. Contact the park for more information at 308-346-4715.

Game and Parks seeks input on Buffalo Bill draft master plan

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking input on a draft master plan being developed to improve Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park and State Recreation Area in North Platte.

The master plan covers potential new development, programming and recreational activities that enhance the experience for future visitors. The plan incorporates new interpretation and programming goals centered around the life of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody and his home – Scout's Rest Ranch.

The public is invited to attend a virtual public meeting from 5:30-7 p.m. on Sept. 1 via Zoom. Participants will be required to register at outdoornebraska.gov/buffalobillranch or outdoornebraska.gov/buffalobillsra.

The public meeting will consist of a presentation of the purpose, vision and goals of the plan and several potential development concept designs for the historical park and recreation area. Attendees can provide feedback on several proposed development ideas, which are unique to each park area.

“We know that Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park and State Recreation Area are very important family destinations and tourist attractions for the city of North Platte and surrounding areas,” said Jim Swenson, state parks administrator. “We encourage our partners, park guests and anyone with an interest in the park areas to share your thoughts on the draft plans to improve the parks areas for future generations.”

The public also is encouraged to provide additional input through a digital platform, which will go live Sept. 2. It can be accessed at outdoornebraska.gov/buffalobillranch or outdoornebraska.gov/buffalobillsra.

ome state park area service hours of operation to be reduced heading into fall

LINCOLN, Neb. – As Nebraska’s state parks prepare for the fall season, some are adjusting their activity hours because of a limited workforce.

As schools return to session and park staffing levels become more limited, park managers must reduce hours of operation and services. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission encourages its patrons to call ahead before visiting a park to check on activity times and availability to ensure a great park experience.

“We have had a tremendous and busy year in Nebraska’s state parks and recreation areas,” said Jim Swenson, state parks administrator. “We appreciate everyone’s support and patience as we make necessary changes to adapt to very limited staffing levels right now, while still providing many excellent opportunities for day use that many people enjoy, such as fishing, hiking, picnicking, boating and more.”

Nebraska park entry permits may be purchased online in advance of any parks visits. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/parks to find more information, including phone numbers of park areas.

Upcoming changes include:

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park – Starting Aug. 12, the Family Aquatic Center and John Wayne Stables hours of operation will be reduced. The aquatic center will be open Saturdays and Sundays only through Labor Day, including the Monday of Labor Day. The hours will be noon-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

The stables will be open Saturdays and Sundays only through Labor Day, with seven available time slots, depending on the weather, on a first-come, first-served basis. All other activities at the park will be open, with possible limited hours.

Ponca State Park and Niobrara State Park – The trail rides and swimming pools at Ponca and Niobrara state parks are operating on weekends only. Park offices and kiosks will begin to reduce hours of operation.

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area and Nature Center – The Nature Center will be open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning Sept. 7. The Shooting Sports Complex is open by reservation only 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Walk-up reservations may be available, depending on staffing.

Ash Hollow State Historical Park – The Visitor Center and Ash Hollow Cave will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Labor Day. After Labor Day, they are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Lake McConaughy SRA – The Visitor and Water Interpretive Center will be open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily beginning Sept. 12. All overnight camping on designated camping beaches and in campgrounds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 13.

Lake Minatare SRA – The park office is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday until Labor Day. Beginning Sept. 7, the office will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily until the lake closes to public access Oct. 1.

Fort Kearny SHP – The Visitor Center and SRA kiosk will be open through Labor Day. The Visitor Center will be open seven days a week until Oct. 1, while the SRA kiosk will be open weekends only through Oct. 1.

Victoria Springs SRA – The park office will be open Friday through Sunday only starting Aug. 13.

Additional parks likely will have reduced hours and services in the coming weeks. For the most up-to-date information, patrons should call the park they plan to visit.


Trout in the Classroom application deadline is Aug. 31

LINCOLN, Neb. – Applications are being accepted through Aug. 31 for Nebraska’s Trout in the Classroom program for the 2021-2022 school year.

This program, sponsored by the Nebraska Environmental Trust and a Nebraska Trout Unlimited chapter, is for teachers interested in raising live fish in their classroom and using the tank in countless lesson plans and everyday activities. Teachers will receive training to get the program up and running. Scholarships are available.

In this program, students learn about aquatic habitat, water quality, ecosystem interactions, food webs and life cycles while hatching and raising rainbow trout.

To learn more, visit outdoornebraska.gov/troutintheclassroom or contact the program’s state coordinator, Grace Gaard, at [email protected].

Celebrate 100 Years of State Parks with music at Schramm Park SRA

LINCOLN, Neb. – In celebration of 100 Years of State Parks, Schramm Park State Recreation Area is hosting a free evening of live music and outdoor fun Aug. 21.

Enjoy live music from 5-8 p.m. from the Omaha-based band 37 Years, which will play favorites from the 60s- and 70s-eras. Visitors can participate in outdoor activities such as fishing with a Youth Fishing Instructor, canoeing, visiting with a geologist, learning about watchable wildlife, exploring nature photography, meeting Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, and playing yard games. Food trucks will be available. There will be a guided hike at 8 p.m. to look for bats, owls, insects and other nocturnal animals.

A park permit is required of each vehicle entering the park and may be purchased at the park or at outdoornebraska.org. The Schramm Education Center closes at 5 p.m.

Find more information in the event’s calendar entry at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.