LINCOLN, Neb. – Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area officially re-opened to the public May 1 – in no small part, Nebraska Game and Parks staff members say, due to the efforts of a hard-working group of volunteers.
On April 27, roughly 250 people showed up at a volunteer cleanup day, removing debris, garbage, sticks and logs. They also planted flowers, painted, and removed flowerbeds.
They stuck around despite a cold front that moved in partway through the event, bringing strong winds and cold temperatures. “Everybody held in pretty strong,” said Jeff Fields, a Nebraska Game and Parks regional superintendent.
About half of the volunteers belonged to several local Boy Scout troops. Staff put them to work at Lake 20, one of the hardest-hit areas. “They had miles and miles and miles of sticks and cornstalks and general garbage that they raked up for us,” Fields said. “They did a really, really awesome job.”
Fields and Fremont Lakes Park Superintendent Bill Booth were both touched by the turnout. “It was pretty emotional for both Bill and I just to see this big group of people there. In Fremont, there’s still people that aren’t even in their homes yet that were out there helping out. That shows a lot,” Fields said.
Booth wasn’t surprised by the turnout. “There’s just a lot of people that care about the park,” he said. “It was good for people to come out and see that yeah, we did have some damage, but it’s not maybe as bad as what people thought.”
Events like these bring to light how much parks mean to people, Fields and Booth said. “I could really tell that it meant a lot to swing the gates open,” Booth said. “Even though we’re limited in some areas and we have some restrictions, it’s nice to have it open. And we wouldn’t have been able to do it without that group of volunteers.”
Visitors to Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area are advised that while much of the park is open, several areas will remain closed or have use limitations in place as repairs continue. Restricted areas are as follows:
— A no-wake/5 mph speed limit is in place on lakes 10, 15 (Victory) and 20 because of snags, trees and other potential boat hazards. Normal recreational boating activities on these lakes is expected by the end of May;
— Fisherman’s Point Campground in the north camping area will be closed to all camping until further notice due to high lake levels and roadway damage;
— Access to the Pathfinder Campground will be from west side of the area just off of County Road 19;
— Portions of roadways damaged by flooding have been closed. The public is reminded to observe cautionary signage and barricades.
Both the east and west entrances to the south camping areas are open. A valid 2019 Nebraska State Park Permit is required for all vehicles entering the park. For more information on Fremont Lakes and other Nebraska state park areas, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.