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New boat launch coming to Box Butte Reservoir

HEMINGFORD, Neb. — Construction is underway for an upgraded boat launch facility at Box Butte State Recreation Area.

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission employees closed the old boat ramp and adjacent parking area July 24 and began diverting boaters to a new temporary “primitive” boat ramp just to the west. Demolition of the old ramp is expected to begin immediately and the area is closed for safety.

Steve Satra, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission program specialist, said the new handicapped-accessible launch will be a big improvement over the old one. The ramp will be expanded from one lane to two 16-foot-wide ones and will have a dock in the middle that will adjust to changing water levels. Also, a slightly steeper grade will mean boaters will not have to drive as far into the water to launch their boats. The parking area near the ramp also will undergo an expansion and other improvements.

The project is scheduled for completion in late November. Despite the closure of the launch area, anglers may access the fish cleaning station by parking along the paved road just to the north.

The Commission is improving the launch during a period of lowered water elevations for dam repairs at the lake. The boat launch project is being completed with Commission’s capital improvement fund and matching revenue from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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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