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Commissioners Discuss Parks’ Deferred Maintenance Needs

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners discussed a plan to address deferred maintenance needs within the state park system May 30 at their meeting in Alma.

In July, $17.35 million from the state budget will be placed in Game and Parks’ deferred maintenance fund, and $150,000 will be placed in a fund for the maintenance and operation of Arbor Lodge State Historical Park.

The priority list for deferred maintenance projects includes cabins and swimming pool at Ponca State Park and upgrades at Arbor Lodge, as well as shower/latrine, water, sewer, sanitation and dump station projects across the state.

Game and Parks has a $44.5 million backlog in deferred maintenance needs across the state park system.

The commissioners also:

— Amended hunter education regulations to reflect changes in statute, including provisions for the new license-purchase exemption certificate. A person with a developmental disability would be required to obtain a license-purchase exemption certificate before being issued a hunting permit.

— Approved a gift of 200 acres land from Ducks Unlimited as an addition to Sora Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Fillmore County;

— Approved a staff recommendation to adopt an interlocal agreement with the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District for the operation of Kramper Lake/Danish Alps Recreation Area in Dakota County. The 746-acre area, which includes a 226-acre reservoir, is scheduled to open July 1, 2015.

— Approved a staff recommendation to eliminate Buffalo Creek Waterfowl Refuge in Dundy County.

— Heard a report on fish-cleaning stations at agency-owned areas by Don Gabelhouse, administrator of the Game and Parks Fisheries Division. Problems at existing stations include vandalism, clogging and electrical and grinder issues. Work has begun on improving fish-cleaning stations at Summit, Swanson, Lake McConaughy (Cedar Vue area) and Calamus (Nunda Shoal and Homestead Knolls areas) state recreation areas. He said the goal is to make those stations more functional.

— Heard a report by Scott Taylor, administrator of the Game and Parks Wildlife Division, on habitat accomplishments in 2013. A total of 131,186 acres and 225 WMAs were impacted. There were projects in 80 counties, and 5,353 landowners received technical assistance.

In addition, Jim Bowen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave a report on motorized trails at Harlan County Lake, and Jim Schneider of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources gave an update on the status of water in the Republican River Basin.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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