LINCOLN – State park areas temporarily closed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission last fall will reopen April 18 – two weeks earlier than previously planned.
The parks will reopen early because work crews reassigned from the closed parks completed their assigned projects ahead of schedule. The purpose of the closures was to redirect Game and Parks staff and resources from the closed areas in an effort to reduce the more than $40 million of identified deferred maintenance needs of an aging Nebraska State Park System and meet compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and environmental requirements.
Work groups of 2-3 employees each were located in six sites across Nebraska. They built 42 double-wide vault toilets to replace deteriorated ones, exceeding their goal by six. The new vault toilets will be distributed to park areas around the state.
During the closure period, several communities, civic groups and political subdivisions provided volunteers and funding to keep some of the park areas open for varying periods of time.
“We are gratified that many communities and persons stepped forward and provided resources to keep some of the parks open,” Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas said. “We are truly grateful for their efforts.”
It was announced last Aug. 30 that 29 state park areas would temporarily close to all services and vehicle access. Management of one park area, Oliver Reservoir, has since reverted from Game and Parks back to its owner, the South Platte Natural Resources District.
The following state recreation areas will reopen April 18: Alexandria, Blue River, Cheyenne, Conestoga, Cottonwood, Dead Timber, DLD, Keller, Long Lake, Long Pine, North Loup, Olive Creek, Pelican Point, Riverview Marina, Rock Creek Lake, Sandy Channel, Schramm, Sutherland, Union Pacific, Verdon, Stagecoach, Walgren, and War Axe.
The state historical parks that will reopen are Arbor Lodge, Ash Hollow, Buffalo Bill, Fort Atkinson, and Fort Hartsuff.