Though we are in uncharted territory with COVID-19 regarding advisories and mandates, truly there is no better place to gain easy personal solitude or social distancing from the virus than in nature!
All state park area grounds are open!
They are not closed! They remain open to you for all sorts of outdoor pursuits – Sightseeing, picnicking, running, hiking, biking, camping, wildlife watching, fishing, mushroom hunting, etc. The Cowboy Trail is also open for use.
Enjoying time in our state park areas can sure provide a nice, refreshing break.
Just remember to purchase your state park and fishing permits in advance of your trip, if possible. Go online through the Game and Parks website: OutdoorNebraska.org If you plan to camp, bring cash or a check with you to pay for your camping fees via a self-registration drop box on the area called an Iron Ranger. Daily park permits are also available at the Iron Ranger.
Float your double-pointed boat!
Say, if you’re looking for what some at Game and Parks refer to as “paddle therapy” to cure your cabin fever, be sure to look into our water trails. Or, you might even consider casting a fishing line from a kayak at one of our lakes. Keep in mind our water trails are open year round but always do your homework before heading to a river or creek. Check water levels, conditions and access points along rivers and creeks with conservation officers. In addition, water temperatures are still quite cold and only go on the water if you have a good, U.S. Coast-Guard approved life jacket, the proper clothing and necessary equipment.
If there ever was a time to “go fish,” with everything that is happening in this world, it is now! Fishing is such a healthy outdoor activity! Anglers can go solo or easily practice social distancing while relaxing on the water. There is plenty of publicly accessible water where you can spread out and fish in Nebraska! All lakes, ponds, reservoirs and river/stream accesses are open, barring weather events. The spring trout stockings continue as scheduled at this time. The Two Rivers Trout Lake near Waterloo is open to pay fishing. You will buy your trout tags on a self-service basis through the kiosk (gatehouse).
Gil-obble-obble. Spring wild turkey hunting. Hey, I am going, are you?
COVID-19 is not affecting Nebraska’s popular spring archery and shotgun wild turkey hunting seasons. The Cornhusker State’s spring wild turkey seasons will still open March 25 (for archery/crossbow), April 11 (for youth shotgun) and April 18 (for regular shotgun). All seasons runs through May 31, 2020. Non-resident hunting is still open to non-residents at present. The grounds to state wildlife management areas and walk-in lands are open for hunting. Turkey numbers are strong. You can purchase turkey permits online. A mobile turkey permit option even exists through an app! For turkey hunting info, go here. I’ll be in the field, will you?
You can go by yourself to Nebraska’s outdoor scene provided you carry your charged iPhone or Android and file a plan with someone; telling them where you are going, when you are leaving and when you are planning to return. Wear your life jacket in a boat. Practice appropriate social distancing, hand washing and and other health recommendation standards. All are simple to do in a natural setting.
Be well, take care and relish your hours and minutes outside. Oh, and wash your hands often!
Get the latest updates on COVID-19 and how it affects your Nebraska Game and Parks Commission resources at this link.