LINCOLN, Neb. – As Nebraska’s state parks prepare for the fall season, some are adjusting their activity hours because of a limited workforce.
As schools return to session and park staffing levels become more limited, park managers must reduce hours of operation and services. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission encourages its patrons to call ahead before visiting a park to check on activity times and availability to ensure a great park experience.
“We have had a tremendous and busy year in Nebraska’s state parks and recreation areas,” said Jim Swenson, state parks administrator. “We appreciate everyone’s support and patience as we make necessary changes to adapt to very limited staffing levels right now, while still providing many excellent opportunities for day use that many people enjoy, such as fishing, hiking, picnicking, boating and more.”
Nebraska park entry permits may be purchased online in advance of any parks visits. Visit outdoornebraska.gov/parks to find more information, including phone numbers of park areas.
Upcoming changes include:
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park – Starting Aug. 12, the Family Aquatic Center and John Wayne Stables hours of operation will be reduced. The aquatic center will be open Saturdays and Sundays only through Labor Day, including the Monday of Labor Day. The hours will be noon-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
The stables will be open Saturdays and Sundays only through Labor Day, with seven available time slots, depending on the weather, on a first-come, first-served basis. All other activities at the park will be open, with possible limited hours.
Ponca State Park and Niobrara State Park – The trail rides and swimming pools at Ponca and Niobrara state parks are operating on weekends only. Park offices and kiosks will begin to reduce hours of operation.
Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area and Nature Center – The Nature Center will be open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. beginning Sept. 7. The Shooting Sports Complex is open by reservation only 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Walk-up reservations may be available, depending on staffing.
Ash Hollow State Historical Park – The Visitor Center and Ash Hollow Cave will be open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Labor Day. After Labor Day, they are open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Lake McConaughy SRA – The Visitor and Water Interpretive Center will be open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily beginning Sept. 12. All overnight camping on designated camping beaches and in campgrounds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning Sept. 13.
Lake Minatare SRA – The park office is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday and Saturday until Labor Day. Beginning Sept. 7, the office will be open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily until the lake closes to public access Oct. 1.
Fort Kearny SHP – The Visitor Center and SRA kiosk will be open through Labor Day. The Visitor Center will be open seven days a week until Oct. 1, while the SRA kiosk will be open weekends only through Oct. 1.
Victoria Springs SRA – The park office will be open Friday through Sunday only starting Aug. 13.
Additional parks likely will have reduced hours and services in the coming weeks. For the most up-to-date information, patrons should call the park they plan to visit.