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Several state park projects underway in northeast Nebraska

Several park improvement projects this year will increase opportunity at Nebraska Game and Parks in northeast Nebraska, while others recently completed addressed lingering effects of the destructive 2019 flood. The following is a roundup of those projects:

Summit Lake SRA getting new equestrian trail

Work will be completed this spring on a 10-mile equestrian trail around Summit Lake near Tekamah. A grand opening for the trail is planned for late summer.

The trail will feature a shallow-water crossing on the southeast corner of the trail.

This project is being done through a partnership among the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District and the Nebraska Horse Trails Committee.

Road repair almost complete at Ponca State Park

Construction is nearing completion on repairs to the looped roadway just north of Ponca State Park’s Riverfront Campground.

The 2019 flood and high Missouri River levels that same year caused significant erosion to this riverfront area. This project included repairs to graveled roadways, a new culvert and replacement of pre-existing bank stabilization.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency funded 90% of the project; the remaining funding was provided by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Niobrara State Park getting new river access

Work will be completed this spring on a new Niobrara River kayak/canoe access at Niobrara State Park.

This river access project includes a put-in/take-out for canoes and kayaks, a scenic overlook with interpretive signage and access road.

This project is a part of flood mitigation requirements for the construction of the new Mormon Canal Bridge on Highway 12 west of Niobrara. The previous bridge was washed out during the 2019 flood. Construction on the new bridge was completed in 2021.

The project was funded by Nebraska Department of Transportation in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Wall repair, restoration efforts continue at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

Restoration and repair efforts have been ongoing the past several years on the fort walls at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park near Fort Calhoun. This spring, the second phase of restoration, on the fort’s north wall, will be completed.

Work was completed in early 2021 on the first phase, the west wall, before restoration started on the north wall. This project includes log replacement, new flooring and chinking.

The project is being funded by the Fort Atkinson Foundation, with grant assistance through the Helmsley Foundation, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Capital Maintenance Fund. Some labor has been provided by staff and the volunteer-based Friends of Fort Atkinson. The Fort Atkinson Foundation is raising funds to continue restoration efforts on east portions of the north wall.

Causeway, jetty repairs completed at Willow Creek SRA

Repairs were completed in 2021 on the west causeway/trail and seven jetties at Willow Creek State Recreation Area near Pierce.

Ice and high water caused extensive damage to these rock structures during the 2019 flood. The jetties serve as both breakwaters and angler access on this 700-acre lake. The west causeway is part of area’s 10-mile hike/bike trail.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency funded 90% of the project; the remainder was paid by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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