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Free Fishing and Park Entry Day is May 21

Free Fishing and Park Entry Day in Nebraska is May 21. Enjoy a Saturday of fishing or state park activities without the need to purchase a fishing or park entry permit for the day.

Free Fishing and Park Entry Day, held annually in Nebraska on the Saturday preceding Memorial Day weekend, means anyone can explore outdoor opportunities at any Nebraska state park, state recreation area or state historical park. Anglers must observe all fishing regulations. Camping, lodging and all other user fees still apply at state park areas. Entrance fees for museums at state historical parks and the entrance fee at the Schramm Education Center remain in effect.

Several family-friendly activities are scheduled in state park areas across the state to celebrate Free Fishing and Park Entry Day. Some of them include:

Fort Robinson State Park

A Kids’ Fishing Derby is set for 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. for ages 12 and under at Grabel Ponds. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m., and prizes awarded during and after the derby.

A barbecue will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the west lawn; cost is $9. Free horse-drawn wagon and Jeep tours will coincide with the barbecue.

Platte River State Park

Loaner fishing rods and reels, bait and instruction will be available free to participants at Jenny Newman Pond from 9 a.m. to noon. This program is geared toward people of all ages who are new to fishing or have not fished in years.

Schramm Education Center

From 10 a.m. to noon, join the free Writing Hike for Beginners event with Master Naturalist Jeff Lacey. Participants will explore the sights and sounds of Schramm Park with a nature journal. This hike is designed to teach naturalists of all ages to write and sketch about nature. Meet in front of the education center. No registration is required.

Ponca State Park

Ponca will host the Bill Morris Fishing Derby for anglers of all ages. Prizes will be awarded for the biggest fish caught in age groups. There also will be naturalist programs, macro-invertebrate dipping, fishing lure building class and backyard bass casting.

Ash Hollow State Historical Park

Children under age 18 are invited to fish Ash Hollow’s pond and keep everything they catch. A free hot dog lunch will be served from 1 to 3 p.m.

Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area

The park will host Wildlands Day, which will include a bird hike, wildflower walk, children’s crafts and live animal presentation.

Visit calendar.outdoornebraska.gov for more information. Get more information on parks at OutdoorNebraska.org.

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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