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Commission Approves Grant Awards for Outdoor Recreation Projects

LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved grant awards for the 2015 Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Assistance Program (LWCF) at a meeting Jan. 15 in Lincoln.

The LWCF is a program administered by the National Park Service for outdoor recreation projects. Eligible projects include, but are not limited to, baseball fields, soccer fields, swimming pools, picnicking facilities, playgrounds, park acquisition and development, shelter houses and related support facilities. All projects must encourage outdoor recreation. Project sponsors must be political subdivisions. LWCF provides reimbursable matching grants for up to 50 percent of the project costs.

The approved grant recommendations are:

— Lexington, $30,000 to build three Americans with Disabilities Act fishing piers

— Omaha, $100,000 to replace an existing playground and walkways

— Firth, $84,750 to build a new splash pad

— Gordon, $50,000 to renovate a playground

— Lincoln, $50,000 to renovate a playground, repair a shelter and other amenities

— Bloomfield, $38,600 to acquire a lot and develop recreational vehicle camping pads

The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations and to provide money to governments to purchase land, water and wetlands to benefit all. The primary source of revenue for the LWCF is from federal oil and gas leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.

In other business, the Commission:

— received recommendations on additional mountain lion research to be conducted between 2015 and 2018;

— amended camping and rental fees at state park areas;

— approved a new lease with the City of Valentine, for the portion of the Valentine Fish Hatchery that is on city property, to accommodate a new golf course to be built by the city;

— approved the following outdoor trail projects for 2015 federal funding through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP):

  •       City of Norfolk, $561,373 to build a 5,115-foot-long, 10-foot-wide concrete North Fork Riverfront Trail for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.
  •      City of Columbus, $226,237 to build a 2,765-foot-long, 10-foot-wide concrete trail just east of the hospital for use by patients, pedestrians, bicyclists and Rollerbladers.
  •      City of Lincoln, $401,944 to build 650 feet of 8-foot-wide concrete trail connecting to an 85-foot-long bridge and 6,055 feet of 8-foot-wide limestone trail for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.
  •      Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, $364,014 to build a 4,950-foot-long, 10-foot-wide concrete trail, connecting two trails on the Oak Creek and Salt Creek levee in Lincoln. It would be used by pedestrians, bicyclists and Rollerbladers.
  •     City of Wahoo, $575,728 to build 10,800 feet of 10-foot-wide limestone trail, including a 90-foot-long bridge, at Lake Wanahoo State Recreation Area. It would be used by pedestrians and bicyclists.
  •      Game and Parks, $643,200 to build an all-terrain vehicle park at Ash Hollow State Historical Park near Lewellen. It includes 7-10 miles of trails, parking lot, restrooms, picnic shelter and trail maintenance equipment. It would be used by the public on motorized equipment and bicyclists.
  •      Game and Parks, $362,880 to build a new boat launch at Elk Point Bend Wildlife Management Area (WMA) near Ponca State Park and to renovate a boat launch at Mulberry Bend WMA. They would be used by the public to launch motorboats.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission also elected officers for 2015. Kent Forney, (District 8, Lincoln) will serve as chairman, and Rex Fisher (at large, Omaha) will serve as vice chairman. They replace Lynn Berggren (District  6, Broken Bow) and Jerrod Burke (District 5, Curtis) respectively.

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