Outdoor notes: Mahoney SP’s conservatory to close temporarily for construction of new Venture Parks project
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park’s James Family Conservatory will be closed temporarily starting July 20 for the start of a yearlong construction project.
The closure will accommodate the addition of the new Nature Center and Outdoor Education Classroom, a Venture Parks project.
The tentative completion of the new project will be summer 2023. The addition will be the park’s new home base for outdoor education activities.
“This new addition will help us expand our education programs for park guests and students, helping to teach outdoor skills and grow knowledge about nature,” Superintendent Jake Rodiek said. “This will be a great place to engage our next generation of park guests.”
Venture Parks are an innovative public/private partnership that brings unique experiences and amenities to four popular state parks and recreation areas along the Platte River: Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area. Thanks to supportive donors, venture parks invite park guests to explore, learn and play and get in touch with nature in new interactive ways. Learn more at OutdoorNebraska.org/ventureparks.
For more information about Mahoney State Park and upcoming activities, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/Mahoney.
Duck hunters must choose from two bag limits when they register for HIP
Duck hunters again must choose between two daily bag limits when they register for their Harvest Information Program number this year.
Nebraska and South Dakota are entering the second year of a “two-tier” program for the regular duck season.
Tier I is a traditional six-duck bag limit with species and sex restrictions. Tier II is a three-duck bag limit with no species or sex restrictions.
HIP registration begins Aug. 1. When hunters go to register, they will be asked whether they plan to hunt ducks. If so, they will be prompted to select a tier. Hunters will be bound to that bag limit for the entire season.
The regulations will not apply to goose limits or during the early teal season, which have their own bag limits.
All hunters age 16 and older, including residents, nonresidents, lifetime permit holders, veterans and senior permit holders, are required to register for HIP if they plan to hunt migratory game birds in Nebraska between Sept. 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023.
Residents under the age of 16 are exempt from the HIP requirement if they choose the Tier I bag limit but must register for HIP if selecting Tier II. All nonresidents under the age of 16 must register for HIP regardless of the tier they select.
Hunters who choose the Tier II option will be provided a journal, where they will record information on hunting activity and harvest. The journal will be submitted to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission at the end of the hunting season.
In addition, postage-paid envelopes will be provided to most Tier II hunters with the expectation that a wing from each duck harvested be sent. This process is similar to federal collection efforts to estimate harvest. Duck harvest and species composition will then be compared to hunters using the Tier I option. If enough wings are not received to evaluate the harvest by Tier II hunters, the program will be unlikely to continue past the experimental phase.
Starting Aug. 1, hunters can register for HIP at OutdoorNebraska.gov/HIP. Registered hunters are assigned a number that they must carry with them while hunting.
HIP, which is required by federal regulation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, helps wildlife managers estimate the number of migratory game birds harvested each year. Migratory birds include doves, ducks, geese, snipe, rail, coots and woodcock.
The two-tier program will continue for the next three seasons, and then be reexamined to determine whether it affected waterfowl hunter numbers and duck populations.
For more information on the two-tier system, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/DuckTiers.
Gifford Point WMA access permit applications accepted Aug. 1-15
People interested in hunting deer at Gifford Point Wildlife Management Area this fall may apply for access permits Aug. 1-15. Two hundred of these permits will be issued to allow hunters access to the area.
Applicants will need to purchase a valid deer permit and then provide their deer permit type and associated number on their application.
The use of rimfire and centerfire rifles or handguns is prohibited at Gifford. Muzzleloaders are not allowed during the November firearm deer season.
The Gifford permit allows access to take deer with archery equipment from Sept. 1, 2022, through Jan. 16, 2023, and with a muzzleloader from Dec. 1, 2022, through Jan. 16, 2023, as specified by the deer permit. Successful applicants will be issued a combination for the lock to access the gate to the WMA. Only persons with a valid access authorization will be allowed on the area.
Deer hunters may apply as "buddies," which ensures that both or neither will draw an access permit. Only two persons may apply as buddies and both apply on the same application. A buddy permit does not allow party hunting. Each individual must harvest his or her own animal.
Vehicle access will be limited to the rock road directly adjacent to the 8-foot-high deer fence on Educational Service Unit property. Only foot access to the interior of the area will be allowed.
Application forms are available at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offices at Omaha, Lincoln, Schramm Education Center, Schilling WMA, or can be downloaded at outdoornebraska.gov/huntingseasons. If applications exceed 200, a drawing will be held Aug. 18.
Applicants shall be notified of draw status via email, if provided, following the draw. Applicable permits are: Muzzleloader, Statewide Archery, Statewide Youth, or Antlerless Only Season Choice Wahoo.
Nebraska fall turkey permits available beginning Aug. 8
Hunters may begin purchasing 2022 Nebraska fall turkey permits at 1 p.m. Central time Aug. 8.
A fall turkey permit is valid statewide and allows a hunter to harvest two turkeys of either sex with a shotgun or archery equipment. Each hunter may have up to two permits. There is no minimum age requirement for youth hunters.
The fall turkey season is Sept. 15, 2022 - Jan. 31, 2023.
Permits will be available at OutdoorNebraska.org and at Nebraska Game and Parks Commission permitting offices.
Catch these Game and Parks education events in August
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission educators have scheduled interesting and engaging events for the curious in August. Here are some opportunities:
Nature Nerd Night to feature Ecological Superheroes on Aug. 16
Keystone species are animals that play a major role in their environment’s web of life. Often their existence helps support dozens of other species. Nebraska examples include prairie dogs, bison and beavers.
Join the virtual webinar Ecological Superheroes on Aug. 16 and learn more about how keystone species help living communities thrive. The free event starts at 7 p.m. Central time.
Registration is required through the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov. Participants may submit questions to be answered during the webinar while registering. For more information, contact [email protected] or follow the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission or Nebraska Wildlife Education on Facebook.
Those unable to attend can view the recorded webinar on the Nebraska Game and Parks YouTube Education Channel. The Nebraska Nature Nerd Night series takes places on the third Tuesday of every month.
‘Science of’ virtual webinar series continues in August
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s popular “Science of” virtual webinar series continues in August. The topics for the 3 p.m. Central time webinars will be raptors on Aug. 4 and night sky ecology on Aug. 11.
The hourlong webinars are free, but separate registration is required for each. See the calendar event entries at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for registration links. The webinars will be recorded and posted to the Nebraska Game and Parks YouTube Education Channel.
Contact [email protected] for more information or check out the events on Game and Parks’ Facebook page and the Nebraska Project WILD Facebook page.
Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Night scheduled for Aug. 23 in Lincoln
Grab your fellow nature nerds and join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission as it hosts Nebraska Nature Nerd Trivia Night at Code Beer in Lincoln at 7 p.m. Aug. 23.
Nature is cool, so there is no shortage of topics questions could cover. Get your teams of no more than five players and be ready to compete for prizes. Registration is not required. This event is for adults only. The event is free to attend with a purchase from the host brewery.
For more information and or questions, email [email protected].
Kayaking Clean Up at Lake Zorinsky set for Aug. 11
Join Nebraska Game and Parks Commission outdoor educators in Omaha for Kayaking Clean Up at Lake Zorinsky on Aug. 11.
Trash bags and gloves will be provided for anyone interested in helping clean up trash while on the water during this night of service and kayaking. A limited number of kayaks will be available for those ages 12 and up who have no experience.
Meet at 6 p.m. in the parking lot east of 168th Street on the north side of the lake at the Zorinsky Lake Trailhead.
The event is free but registration is required. See the calendar event entry at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for registration links.
For more information, contact Grace Gaard at [email protected].
Virtual webinar to look at lessons from COVID-19 Pandemic
Evidence points to the many benefits associated with spending time in nature. Join a free, virtual webinar Aug. 10 that will explore the role of outdoor activity in driving improved mental well-being for youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Brent Jackson, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, will give the presentation at 12:30 p.m. Central time.
This webinar is part of the Conservation Education Lunch & Learn Series. This series dives into the science behind educational efforts and practices by learning from experts on a variety of scientific and educational topics.
To register, or get more information on the series, see the calendar event entry at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.
Try Birding by Kayak at Oliver Reservoir on Aug. 20
Join the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies to gain a new perspective on birds – from the water. In the Birding by Kayak event at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 20, paddlers/birders will discover the incredible birds that visit Oliver Reservoir near Kimball.
This free event will begin with an introduction to kayaking. Paddlers must be at least 10 years of age. Kayaks, life jackets and binoculars will be provided.
Registration is required by Aug. 15 and is limited to eight people. To register, go to Facebook and search for Birding By Kayak – Oliver Reservoir.
For more information, contact Delanie Bruce at [email protected].
Flatwater Landing WMA closed temporarily due to low water
Flatwater Landing Wildlife Management Area, which sits along the Platte River in Platte County, is closed temporarily to vehicle access. Extremely low water prevents access to the boat ramp by watercraft.
ATVs and UTVs also are not allowed on the WMA at this time.
Water levels will be monitored, and the WMA will be reopened for vehicle access when water returns to a level that will accommodate access to the river by watercraft.
Find other boat ramps by visiting the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s website at OutdoorNebraska.org and searching the Public Boating Areas map. Scouting ahead is recommended due to low water levels across the state.
Explore the parks with these Game and Parks events in August
Spend some time this summer in Nebraska’s state parks. During August, a variety of events are planned for those interested in history, conservation, nature and just having a good time. Here are several examples:
Merritt Reservoir SRA to host Spectacular Stars, Magnificent Moths Nocturnal Insects
Uncover the fantastic world of nighttime insects at Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area, renowned for its dark skies, on Aug. 4.
The program Spectacular Stars, Magnificent Moths Nocturnal Insects will introduce visitors to the process of “moth lighting.”
In moth lighting, a large bright light bulb and white bed sheet are set up. Moths are attracted to the light and the bed sheet, as a background, will help experts identify different species. Moths will be captured, photographed, then released. Come out and see how many species are captured.
The program starts at 3 p.m., with moth lighting beginning at 8:30 p.m. Meet at the Snake River Shelter.
A Nebraska vehicle park entry permit is required.
Wildcat Hills SRA to host Night Sky
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area invites stargazers to bring a blanket and lie beneath the stars Aug. 27 during its Night Sky program.
The program, from 8:30-9:30 p.m. Mountain time, will begin at the Nature Center. Visitors can explore constellations, mythology and much more. They will have an opportunity to watch the Perseids meteor shower, one of the best meteors showers of the year.
The event is free, but a Nebraska vehicle park entry permit is required.
Discover history of dolls at Arbor Lodge
Learn about the history of dolls Aug. 5-31 at Arbor Lodge State Historical Park. Special doll collections will be on display throughout the mansion.
The display will be open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
A Doll Tea Party is scheduled for Aug. 14 from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. in the lodge’s sunroom. Feel free to bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to also enjoy the event. The tea will include small savories as well as hot and cold brewed tea. Reservations are required as space is limited. Tickets are $20.
Call 402-873-7222 for more information. Visit the calendar event entry to buy tickets to Arbor Lodge and the tea at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.
Platte River State Park 40th Anniversary Run is Aug. 13
Come celebrate the 40th anniversary of Platte River State Park with a fun, scenic 1- or 3-mile trail run Aug. 13.
Runners will traverse the park’s challenging, beautiful trails. After the race, runners are encouraged to stay and explore the park.
Registration for the run, sponsored by Angry Cow Adventures, closes July 30. Visit the calendar event entry at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov to register. The registration fee includes a shirt and refreshments.
A Nebraska vehicle park entry permit is required.
Enjoy stargazing at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park
Come to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park on Aug. 19 and enjoy some summer stargazing.
Powerful telescopes will be set up at the park’s golf shack from 9-11:30 p.m. so visitors may get a glimpse at the night sky. Stargazing will begin at dusk. Remember to bring camp chairs or blankets.
The event is free, but a Nebraska vehicle park entry permit is required.
Mystery at the Mansion set for Aug. 13 at Arbor Lodge
Come to Arbor Lodge State Historical Park on Aug. 13 for an evening of fun with Mystery at the Manson: Clueless Murder. This old-fashioned whodunit will take place at Arbor Lodge Mansion at 6 p.m.
Solve clues, look for evidence, and break the case while mingling with new friends. Participants will receive a character to portray as they arrive at Arbor Lodge Mansion. Cost is $25, and space is limited for this adults-only event. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Visit the event listing at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov to buy tickets or for information on adding dinner or lodging.
Living History Weekend at Fort Atkinson is Aug. 6-7
Step back in time Aug. 6-7 and enjoy a Living History Weekend at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park.
Activities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. both days. They will include military activity, mountain man camp, laundresses, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, spinning/weaving, coopering and more.
There will be free pony rides Aug. 6 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dr. Joe Starita will give the presentation “Warrior of the People” Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. Visit the calendar event entry at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for the full schedule.
A valid Nebraska park entry permit is required. A per person fee is required at the Harold W. Andersen Visitor Center of $2 per adult and $1 per child. For more information, contact the park at [email protected] or 402-468-5611.