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Going tubing on a river? Here are the things to know before you go!

Ahhh … Leisurely floating on one of Nebraska’s many scenic rivers or streams in an inflated inner tube is a cool, refreshing, relaxing, way to enjoy a hot summer day with family and friends, isn’t it? Oh, yes! Summer river or stream tubing is fun, there is nothing like it! However, some recreational tubers on flowing waters get into trouble and actually end up spoiling their own float trip as well as the reputation of other law-abiding, ethical tubers! In addition, tubing …

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Bluegill are a Great Catch in Summer

It’s hot. It’s humid. Whew! Yeah, it’s summer alright. Hey, has your fishing success slowed with the conditions? Well, one fish leads the way with lots of action provided to anglers in the good, old summertime — bluegill. A male bluegill stands guard on its nest in a southern Nebraska pond. Underwater photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Maybe it’s the kid in me, I don’t know. But, at 57 years of age (approaching 58), I still …

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Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area

Big Changes at the Big Lake Nearly everything about Lake McConaughy is big. At 30,000 surface acres, it is Nebraska’s largest reservoir, its dam is among the largest of its kind in the world, and its fish grow to trophy proportions, accounting for several state records. Even its nickname, “Big Mac,” reflects its size. Located 8 miles northeast of Ogallala, Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area is known to most Nebraskans and residents of neighboring states as a great place for …

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Platte River State Park Bike Trails

Mountain bikers have been riding the trails carved into the bluffs at Platte River State Park for decades, its hills and rocks providing a challenge many yearn for, with the scenery providing the icing on the cake. Now they have a new set of singletrack trails loaded with unique features all for themselves as part of an addition to the park that could become a mountain bike destination for riders from across the country. Along with 4.4 miles of new …

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There is no excuse for not wearing a life jacket on the water!

It bothers me to no end that people have such cavalier excuses regarding why they don’t want to wear life jackets on the water in a boat. In my 41 years at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, I have seen my share of boating tragedies. I have seen the victims of boating fatalities who were not wearing their life jackets. You never, ever forget them. Often the victims died right in front of close family members and good friends …

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Nebraska’s water trails offer more than just a float trip

Eager to get on the water? Yeah, me, too. This is a perfect time to float Nebraska’s water trails. During the current pandemic, you can easily go with the folks in your household, (socially) distance yourselves from others, and keep your hands washed floating the state’s pristine rivers and streams. There are dozens of other reasons to take a float trip, to boot. You can do it for the openness and space that it offers and the adventure of going …

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Plan ahead and stay safe when having fun on the water

The Nebraska state park system offers some fantastic beaches for swimming and wading, and they’re open now! More than two dozen state recreation areas offer a chance for everyone to catch some rays, play in the sand and cool off in the water of lakes and reservoirs during hot days, as long as COVID-19 health guidelines and measures are followed. Beach swimming is blast! My family and I really enjoy it. However, drowning in dark water is a real danger. Even …

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Preserving the Pine Ridge

Catastrophic wildfires have ravaged more than half of northwestern Nebraska’s pine forests. Land managers are making strides toward a more sustainable future. On this sunny day, Bryce Gerlach is visiting a timber-thinning project at Gilbert-Baker Wildlife Management Area in the northwest corner of the state. Gerlach, who is a forester funded by the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, likes what he sees. “This is the project that is going to save Gilbert-Baker someday,” he …

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Platte River State Park

I never feel overwhelmed at Platte River State Park. Whether there are thousands of kids attending an Outdoor Discovery day or just a few vehicles, I can always take a deep, relaxing breath whenever I pull into the park. Located three miles from Louisville – between Omaha and Lincoln – the park is a welcomed break from city life. It offers both family-friendly attractions and solace in its 450 acres, even on the busiest of weekends. I love playing with …

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Kearney Water Trail

At 2.3 miles, the Kearney Water Trail is undoubtedly one of the shortest in Nebraska. Despite that fact, it might also be one of the busiest. On any given day from April through October, you’re apt to see kayakers paddling down the trail, which utilizes the Kearney Canal and Turkey Creek on the southwestern corner of this central Nebraska city of 38,000. Its location certainly plays into its popularity. The trail opened in 2016, a joint effort between the city, …

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