LINCOLN, Neb. – Visitors to Nebraska state parks have until Oct. 4 to take a survey online to share their experiences this summer.

More than 4,000 park users have completed the survey since April, when crews started conducting surveys in select state parks. Additional responses will only help the study, survey organizers say.

“Public feedback helps our agency make informed and intentional decisions that enhance experiences within our state park system,” said Hannah Jones, assistant planning division administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “We encourage everyone to take our survey because we value their perspective about how they create lifelong memories in state parks. We want to ensure they have the right facilities to make their visit time well spent.”

To take the survey, visit The survey also is available at

The goal of the survey is to better understand how to serve the public in Nebraska’s state parks. Game and Parks hopes to get a clearer picture of how people recreate in parks, and it looks forward to productive feedback.

Printed copies of the survey were distributed at 22 state parks, recreation areas and historical parks this summer. The online survey requests feedback about experiences at any Nebraska state park.

Game and Parks contracted with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Sociological Research to conduct the surveys.

For more information, contact the bureau at 402-472-3672 or [email protected].

Electrical upgrades coming to Box Butte Reservoir

HEMINGFORD, Neb. — Campers at Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area will have to go without electricity for a while, but they will have more juice when the wait is over.

Beginning Oct. 1, all of the electrical camping sites at Box Butte will be closed while construction workers upgrade six sites from 30 to 50 amps. The upgrades will result in all of the lake’s 14 electrical sites having 50-amp service.

The campground’s 40 non-electrical sites will remain open during the project, which is expected to be complete before camping activity picks up again in spring.

The $40,000 upgrade is being paid for with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Capital Maintenance Fund, which is generated from a tax on the sale of motorboats and personal watercraft. Mansfield Enterprises of Chadron was awarded the contract.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge set for Oct. 10 at Platte River SP

LINCOLN, Neb. – Young hunter education graduates are invited to test their skills in Nebraska’s state Youth Hunter Education Challenge on Oct. 10.

The competition will be from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex at Platte River State Park near Louisville. Pre-registration is required by Oct. 5; sign up online at

This fun, free competition gives kids ages 11 to 17 the opportunity to improve their hunting, marksmanship and safety skills while competing for prizes. Through its simulated hunting situations, live fire exercises and education, the event helps youth build upon skills learned in basic hunter education courses and encourages safer, lifelong hunting habits.

The competition is for youth ages 11 or older who have successfully completed hunter education and not yet graduated from high school. Proof of hunter education certification is required.

All shooting and safety equipment will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own shotgun or .22 rifle with ammunition and archery equipment with their own arrows.

A park entry permit is required. For more information, contact Christy Christiansen at 402-471-5547 or [email protected].

BOW participants invited to celebrate 30th anniversary

LINCOLN, Neb. — Participants, volunteers and instructors of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Nebraska are invited to the 30th anniversary celebration Saturday, Oct. 9 at Platte River State Park.

BOW has empowered women outdoor enthusiasts since 1991 with weekend workshops at Ponca State Park, Fort Robinson State Park and Nebraska National Forest at Halsey focused on outdoor skills and recreation. Beyond BOW events provided opportunities for those women to continue to develop their skills.

“Since 1991, we’ve had so many women participate in our programs,” said Julie Plugge, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor education specialist who coordinated the event. “We’re looking forward to bringing them all under one roof to celebrate and connect over their love of the outdoors.”

The event will begin with an open house and outdoor skills opportunities from 1 to 5 p.m. at the park, and a reception, including a meal, dignitary speakers, prizes and special recognition ceremony will be at 6 p.m. Cost for the reception is $15, though instructors or former instructors pay $5.

A Dutch-oven cookoff will feature four categories: main meal, appetizer, bread or dessert, with a serving time of 3 p.m. Cost to compete is $5, with the money going to the winners.
Tickets for the reception or cookoff can be purchased at

Platte River State Park is situated on the southern bluffs of the Platte River west of Louisville, Nebraska. Learn more about the park at

Enjoy Halloween fun in Nebraska state parks in October

LINCOLN, Neb. — State park areas are wonderful places to celebrate Halloween in Nebraska. Many of them have family-friendly activities on weekends in October. This year is no exception.

Aside from Halloween-themed events at parks, enthusiasts of history and crafts will find activities to enjoy in October.

See what opportunities for adventure you can find. Learn more at

A park entry permit is required of each vehicle entering a state park area.


Living History Scheduled Oct. 2-3 at Fort Atkinson SHP

LINCOLN, Neb. – Life at an 1820s military post will be depicted at Living History Weekend at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park on Oct. 2-3.

From 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3, visitors will be able to glimpse the activities that would have taken place at this outpost. Trades such as blacksmithing, carpentry, coopering, tin smithing, and more will be demonstrated throughout both days. Period crafts such as spinning, weaving and quilting also will be highlighted.

Fort Atkinson SHP, the first military post west of the Missouri River, is seven blocks east of U.S. Highway 75 near Fort Calhoun. Admittance to the Harold W. Andersen Visitor Center is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 3-12.

Contact the park for more information at 402-468-5611 or [email protected].


Enjoy stories, stars and s’mores at Buffalo Bill SRA

LINCOLN, Neb. – Come listen to Native American stories from Oglala Lakota tribe members to learn about their traditions, hunting, fishing and use of the land from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 2 at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Recreation Area.

At 6:30 p.m., families can enjoy making s’mores and crafting rain sticks. Wrap up the evening by enjoying some stargazing.

For more details, visit the calendar event listing at RSVP to the event is preferred.


Indian Cave SP to host 26th Haunted Hollow

LINCOLN, Neb. – Bring the family to Indian Cave State Park for three weekends of Halloween-themed fun in October with the 26th Annual Haunted Hollow.

Haunted hayrack rides, trick-or-treating, outdoor movies, scavenger hunt, pumpkin rolling, craft market and campground-decorating contest are all on tap to keep everyone entertained Oct. 8-9, Oct. 15-16 and Oct. 22-23.

For more details, visit the calendar event listing at


Enjoy River Valley Artisans and Craft Market Oct. 9-10 at Mahoney SP

LINCOLN, Neb. – Start your Christmas shopping early at the River Valley Artisans and Craft Market on Oct. 9-10 at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. Browse through handmade arts and craft items in the new Crete Carrier Riverview Lodge.

Vendors will have fluid and fused-glass art, crochet towels and animals, wooden trays, natural hand lotions, goat milk soap, home décor, signs and more.

Hours for the show are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 9 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 10.

For more details, visit the calendar event listing at


Ponca SP will host Hallowfest Oct. 9, Oct. 16

LINCOLN, Neb. – Enjoy the season of Halloween at Ponca State Park by coming to the 23rd Annual Hallowfest on Oct. 9 and Oct. 16.

Activities include crafts, pumpkin-rolling contest, pumpkin-carving contest, haunted drive and campground-decorating contest.

Call the park at 402-755-2284 to register for the haunted drive, which is $25 per vehicle.


Johnson Lake Halloween Haunt set for Oct. 9

LINCOLN, Neb. – Johnson Lake State Recreation Area will host pumpkin painting and a campsite-decorating contest Oct. 9. The Johnson Lake Halloween Haunt will take place from 1-7 p.m.

The pumpkin painting will take place from 1-3 p.m. at Area C. Campsite decoration judging will begin at 5 p.m. at the main campground. Prizes will be given for the top two finishers.


Ranch Life Saturdays at Rock Creek Station SHP

LINCOLN, Neb. — Travel back in time to the mid-1800s during living history Saturdays at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park in southeast Nebraska.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 16, reenactors will bring history to life with period dress, interpretations and demonstrations.

The historical park — one of the Pony Express stations — is on 350 acres of prairie, its creek bottom timber-studded. Deep ruts carved into the earth by wagons traveling the Oregon and California trails remain plainly visible.

The historical park also contains the reconstructed Pony Express barn, bunk house and several cabins, viewable from the 6 miles of hiking and nature trails.

Learn more about the park at Learn more about the event in the listing at


Pink Pumpkin Walk is Oct. 16 at Indian Cave State Park

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Pink Pumpkin Walk, a walk for cancer survivors and in memory of loved ones, will be at 11 a.m. Oct. 16 at Indian Cave State Park. It also helps support October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Call 402-883-2115 to register and order a personalized pink pumpkin in memory of a loved one, for those who have beat cancer and those currently fighting it. $10 registration is due by Oct. 9. Proceeds go to Southeast Nebraska Memorial Cancer Garden.

For more details, visit the calendar event listing at


Halloween is Brewing with Fun at Mahoney SP set for Oct. 16

LINCOLN, Neb. – Show your Halloween spirit Oct. 16 with Halloween is Brewing with Fun at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. There will be contests for campsite decorating, pumpkin carving, bonfires and a scavenger hunt.

All events take place at Owen Marina from 1:30 to 6 p.m. The event kicks off with a children’s Halloween costume parade.

To see the day’s full schedule, visit the calendar event listing at


Branched Oak SRA to host Spooktacular on Oct. 16

LINCOLN, Neb. – Spend a day with the family Oct. 16 enjoying Spooktacular at Branched Oak State Recreation Area.

Middle Oak Creek Campground will host this event, which will include a pumpkin-rolling contest, pumpkin carving, costume contest, campsite decorating, trick-or-treating and haunted hayrack ride.

For more details, visit the calendar event listing at


Enjoy Halloween campsite decorating, trick-or-treating at Fremont Lakes SRA

LINCOLN, Neb. – Get into the Halloween spirit at Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area on Oct. 16 with family-friendly activities.

Campers may decorate their campsites in a Halloween theme. Then, from 5-7 p.m., children may trick-or-treat in the campground with the decoration judging takes place.

For more information, call the park at 402-727-2922.


Calamus Pumpkin Carvers Event set for Oct. 23

LINCOLN, Neb. – It is all about pumpkins at Calamus State Recreation Area on Oct. 23.

The Calamus Pumpkin Carvers Event, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., will include pumpkin carving, games with prizes, downhill pumpkin rolling derby, food, campsite decorating, haunted houses, trick-or-treating and lighted pumpkin displays.

For more details, visit the event listing in the calendar at


Roosevelt presentation set for Oct. 23 at Platte River State Park

LINCOLN, Neb. – Join professional interpreters of Theodore Roosevelt and his youngest son, Quentin, as they tell the tales of the Old West on Oct. 23 at Platte River State Park in celebration of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s state parks centennial.

The presentation, which is open to the public, will take place at 6 p.m. at the park’s amphitheater. Freewill offerings will be accepted.

Joe Wiegand (Theodore Roosevelt) and Austin Artz (Quentin Roosevelt) have traveled across the world as Roosevelt performers and have acted in History Channel documentaries.


Enders Reservoir SRA to host Haunted Camping Oct. 30-31

LINCOLN, Neb. – Enjoy family-friendly fun with Haunted Camping at Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area on Oct. 30-31.

This event will take place in Area A, where there will be a haunted trail, games, pumpkin-carving contest, and costume contests for adults, children and pets. There also will be camper and campsite-decorating contests. Camping fees apply.