With the July 4 holiday weekend rapidly approaching, campers are reminded they will need a reservation to stay overnight at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala state recreation areas.

Campers should book their reservation at the two state recreation areas before leaving home. Reservations can be made online, via mobile app RA Camping, or by phone at 308-284-8800 during business hours.

Designated campground sites can be reserved 180 days prior to arrival date, and beach camping sites can be reserved 30 days prior to arrival date.

Same-day reservations may be made online or by phone until 5 p.m. Mountain time, if sites remain available. Once capacities are reached, no additional overnight camping will be allowed; for alternative lodging options, including private campgrounds, hotels or cabins, visit ILoveLakeMac.com.

Campers must arrive and check in with park staff, in-person, at the Visitor Center or at a staffed entrance booth between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Mountain time. Registered campers will receive an email with more details regarding their reservation prior to arrival.

Day-use activities are not limited and do not require a reservation.

A park entry permit is required of each vehicle entering each SRA and can be purchased in advance online.

Boaters who register their motorized watercraft in any other state also must have an Aquatic Invasive Species Stamp each year they boat in Nebraska. This stamp, $15 for nonresidents, is available for purchase online.

Learn more, make your reservation or buy your permit at OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Celebrate Nebraska Pollinator Week starting June 19

Join the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in celebrating our state’s native pollinators — including more than 200 species of butterflies — during Nebraska Pollinator Week this June 19-25.

Take part in the Nebraska Pollinator Quest; join the Pollinator Party at Schramm Education Center; or learn all about pollinators at Ponca State Park. These events and nine more are being hosted by Game and Parks or other partners across the state.

Find an event near you at OutdoorNebraska.gov; search “Pollinator Week.”

Game and Parks events will include:

  • The Nebraska Pollinator Quest, an event that challenges participants to find and record as many pollinators as possible using the application iNaturalist throughout the week.
  • Pollinators at Ponca State Park, a naturalist-led event starting at 8 a.m. June 20 at the park, 88090 Spur 26E, Ponca.
  • Neighborhood Nature Fest, a community event from 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 21, at Benson Park, 7028 Military Ave., Omaha.
  • Science of … Pollinators, a free webinar from 3 to 4 p.m. June 22. Register to attend in the event listing at OutdoorNebraska.gov.
  • Nebraska Pollinator Quest at Medicine Creek, a mini-bioblitz focused on pollinators starting at 11 a.m. July 23 at the Shady Bay Campground, Medicine Creek State Recreation Area, 40611 Rd 728, Cambridge.
  • Nebraska Bumble Bee Atlas Field Training, a session dedicated to training community scientists to track and conserve Nebraska’s native bumble bees from 9 to 11 a.m. Mountain Time at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area, 210615 NE-71, Gering. Register to attend in the event listing at OutdoorNebraska.gov.
  • Pollinator Party at Schramm Education Center, an opportunity to see live honey and bumble bees, learn about pollinators, make crafts and more. This event is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the education center, 21502 W. Highway 31.

Get additional events details in the listings at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Pollinator Week, in Nebraska and internationally, is an effort to celebrate and raise awareness about pollinators and their conservation. Pollinators, including bees, hummingbirds and butterflies, add more than $217 billion to the worldwide economy through crop pollination. They pollinate more than 180,000 plant species around the world — including plants that provide food for people, birds and mammals.

Grove Trout Rearing Station to close temporarily for maintenance

The Grove Trout Rearing Station near Royal in Antelope County will close to visitors June 20-21 for maintenance and inspection of the diversion pond.

“While the maintenance takes place, staff will be using heavy equipment, and public safety is taken into consideration for this closure,” Fish Production Manager Joe Cassidy said. “Recreationists and anglers may experience cloudy water uncharacteristic of East Verdigre Creek below the facility during this procedure.

“While this is a necessary part of the operation of the facility, we want this to be brief and resume public visitation,” Cassidy said. “We thank visitors and anglers for their understanding.”

For more information about fishing and Nebraska’s fish hatcheries, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Game and Parks continues management role at Swanson, Red Willow SRAs

Nebraska Game and Parks continues to manage the diverse recreational opportunities available at Red Willow and Swanson Reservoir state recreation areas in the southwest part of the state.  

The recreation facilities are managed for public use and benefit as part of a 25-year management agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns the land. This agreement was renewed in 2022.

During negotiations of the new agreement, Game and Parks relinquished management responsibility for the small portion of each park that includes the privately-owned concession operations at the two reservoirs. This was a result of the Bureau’s expectations for ongoing concession operations. 

Concession management and administration is now conducted directly by the Bureau of Reclamation. Negotiations between the Bureau and concessionaries do not involve Nebraska Game and Parks.

Management for the remainder of the recreation and wildlife management areas remain the same with Nebraska Game and Parks operating them for Nebraskans and visitors alike. These areas include the public campgrounds and related facilities, boating access, fishery and adjacent wildlife management areas, which provide opportunities for fishing, hunting, boating, hiking, camping, wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreation. 

Recent improvements at the two recreation areas include fish cleaning stations thanks to the reinvestment of user fees and other funding sources, such as the Capital Maintenance Fund and the BOR’s Title 28 program.

Swanson Reservoir SRA, near Trenton, is the largest of four recreation areas in the southwestern part of the state and offers fishing, boating, camping and day-use activities, among others. Red Willow Reservoir SRA, near McCook, offers camping, swimming, an archery range, trails and other day-use opportunities.

Game and Parks recognizes these areas are important to outdoor recreationists and will continue to provide public access and opportunity.

To learn more about the parks, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Trout in the Classroom accepting applications

Nebraska’s Trout in the Classroom program is accepting applications through August to join the program and earn a scholarship for the 2023-2024 school year.

This program is for teachers interested in raising live fish in their classrooms and utilizing the tanks for countless lesson plans and everyday activities. Teachers will receive all the training and expertise needed to get their program up and running.

Trout in the Classroom is sponsored by the Nebraska Trout Unlimited Chapter 710 and coordinated by Nebraska Game and Parks.

For requirements or more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov and search “Trout in the Classroom,” or contact the program’s state coordinator, Grace Gaard, at [email protected].