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Lake McConaughy SRA boating access improvement to begin

An aerial photo shows the Martin Bay bayside boat ramp
An aerial photo shows the Martin Bay bayside boat ramp at Lake McConaughy in Keith County. The ramp will be improved as part of a water trail on the lake. / Eric Fowler, NEBRASKAland Magazine, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Martin Bay boat ramp at Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area will temporarily close to public access Dec. 3. The closure comes just ahead of a one-year, $3 million capital improvement project for the Martin Bay and Cedar View areas of the reservoir, slated to begin the week of Dec. 7.

The project at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission property will improve boating accessibility and create one of Nebraska’s first motorized water trail systems at the state’s largest reservoir. A motorized water trail is a marked route on navigable waters for recreational use.

Improved boating access sites, once completed at opposite ends of the reservoir, will help promote the Western Nebraska recreation area and reservoir as a prime travel destination for boaters from around the Midwest.

Martin Bay’s lakeside ramp improvements will include the addition of a steeper, two-lane boat ramp with turnaround and boat staging area. Accessible parking will be added to the existing lot, which also will get surface repairs and striping. A flush restroom, fish-cleaning station, area lighting, loading ramps and boat dock also will be built.

Cedar View’s bayside ramp improvements will include an extension to the existing boat ramp and surfacing repairs and striping to the existing parking area. Accessible parking will be added. An exit lane also will be constructed at the top of the ramp to improve traffic flow, and a cement vault latrine, loading ramps, boat docks and area lighting will be built.

Both projects are expected to be completed by late 2021, and the areas will be closed to the public during that time. Should access resume earlier, Game and Parks will provide notice at OutdoorNebraska.org and through the media.

Boaters wishing to access Lake McConaughy may do so at Spillway Bay, Diver’s Bay and Cedar View until ice forms in the bays, typically around mid to late December. For bay availability, call the park’s visitor center at 308-284-8800.

The improvement project is being funded with a combination of the Game and Parks’ Capital Maintenance Fund and park user fee revenue, in partnership with matching federal funds provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sportfish Restoration Fund and the Federal Highway Administration’s Recreation Trails Program.

It is the latest in the continuation of Game and Parks’ Lake McConaughy/Lake Ogallala Master Plan, a 20-year outline of enhancements developed in concert with local stakeholders. Since its inception in 2016, nearly $6 million has been invested in repairs and developments at the reservoir and recreation area, funded largely by the Commission’s Capital Maintenance Fund, park revenues, the Nebraska Department of Transportation Recreational Road Program and Keith County Visitors Committee tourism grants.

For more about the master plan, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/lakemcconaughyplan.



Media Contact: Colby Johnson – Regional Supervisor, Nebraska State Parks – colby.johnson@nebraska.gov or 308-289-6955.

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