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Moose Triggers Temporary Boating Ban at Bridgeport Lake

A moose trots through Bridgeport State Recreation Area earlier this week. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)
A moose trots through Bridgeport State Recreation Area earlier this week. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

Officials of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have implemented a temporary boating ban on Center Lake at Bridgeport State Recreation Area because of moose activity in the area.

Officials say there has been a regular occurrence of at least one moose in and around Center Lake, the largest body of water in the park that is most often used by boaters. A moose has been known to visit an island at the lake in recent weeks.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to take this measure, but we believe it’s the best course of action for public safety,” said Todd Nordeen of Alliance, a Commission big game program manager.

Considering the increased activity expected at the lake with Free Park Entry and Fishing Day on Saturday, officials decided to temporarily suspend boating until further notice. Officials will re-evaluate the situation Monday and determine whether to lift the ban.

Officials stress that people should not approach or feed moose as they have been known to become aggressive toward people and pets. Park visitors are reminded that all pets are required to be on a leash, a provision that is especially important with moose in an area.

Game and Parks officials are distributing informational material to caution park visitors, including brochures and signage around the park. People are being asked to report any moose sightings to the local police department, conservation officer or nearest Game and Parks office.

Aggressive moose often show a variety of signs, including pinned back or flattened ears with fur raised around the neck and back. Other signs are a lowered head, stomping feet and teeth clicking or licking of its lips. In the case of a moose charging, people are encouraged to run and not stand their ground.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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