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COVID-19 FAQ’S

Enjoying time outdoors while practicing safe health measures can provide a relaxing alternative during the present period of concern. The health and well-being of Nebraskans and caring for our natural and cultural resources are our top priorities.

Please see the FAQs below for more information on what we’re doing to protect Nebraskans and how it may affect your visit.

Beaches

Beaches and swimming areas on agency lakes and reservoirs reopened for use June 4.

Boating activities, including skiing and tubing, continue to be allowed. We recommend guests practice social spacing at all times, including at boat launch ramps. Guests pulling boats onto sandy areas should practice social spacing and not exceeding the state’s group size recommendation.

Can I swim?

A: Park visitors can swim within designated swimming areas at agency lakes and reservoirs. Agency swimming pools and spray parks remain closed. Be advised that swimming or wading is not recommended in any areas outside of designated swimming areas.

Will swimming pools, the spray park and floating playground in state parks and recreation areas be open?

The agency swimming pools at Chadron, Fort Robinson, Mahoney, Platte River, Niobrara and Ponca state parks; the spray park at Platte River State Park; and the floating playground at Louisville SRA will not open June 4. A decision on opening those at a future date is pending.  This website will be updated with further information as that becomes available.

Park use

Can I use state parks and recreation areas?

A: Park grounds remain open for all recreation, including fishing, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and other activities. State park and recreation area playgrounds and play structures reopened June 4.

We remind park guests to recreate responsibly and take personal precautions, such as using hand sanitizer, when using high-risk areas.

Guests still need their parks permit, which can be purchased online or at a self-service station. Fishing permits also can be purchased online or at participating vendors.

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What office closures at State Parks will affect me?

A: All Game and Parks offices; service, visitor and education centers; museums and historic buildings; shooting complexes; field offices; state park restaurants; and public crane viewing blinds are temporarily closed to the public until further notice. State park and recreation area lodges, cabins, restaurants and dining rooms also are closed through June 15, with a possible extension period. All History Nebraska sites are closed to the public until further notice; for more information, visit history.nebraska.gov.

All the closures are in keeping with national recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which encourages maintaining physical distance’ and limiting in-person social interactions.

Can I camp?

A: All reservation-only and first-come, first-serve campsites — approximately 3,400 improved campsites and an estimated 7,500 primitive sites — are available to all camping units, including RV’s, camping trailers and tents. Mormon Island and Danish Alps SRAs remain closed to overnight camping due to high COVID-19 incidence in those communities.

Read our camping FAQ for more information.

Camping FAQs

Are trails open?

A: Yes, it’s a great time to go out and stretch your legs, self-isolate and enjoy what our trails have to offer. Map your route at maps.outdoornebraska.gov/trails. We remind you that some areas of the Cowboy Trail have been closed due to flooding from 2019.

Are water trails open for use?

A: If you’re looking for some paddle therapy to cure your cabin fever, check out our list of water trails at: outdoornebraska.gov/watertrails, or throw in a line and go kayak fishing at one of our lakes: maps.outdoornebraska.gov/fishing. Water trails are open year-round but always research before you get out on the water and only go on the water if you have proper equipment and gear.

Reservations, refunds and cancellations

What will happen to my lodge or camping reservation that was cancelled?

A: Refunds will be given to those who have prepaid fees through our designated closure dates, which began in March and continue through  June 15, with a possible extension. Where possible, transferring your reservation to a later date is encouraged. In order to be accommodating in this tenuous time, exceptions to our current policy may be made on a case-by-case basis for reservations scheduled beyond June 15.

What about future reservations?

A: If you have questions or concerns about a future reservation or what to reschedule, please send us an email through our Reservation Inquiry form or call our parks reservation line at 402-471-1414 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Central time Monday through Friday.

View individual parks reservation contact information

Inquiry form

Health and safety

What measures are you taking to disinfect public spaces, such as restrooms?

A: We’re taking guidance from the CDC, which recommends regular cleaning and sanitation as one of the most important preventive measures we can take to protect the community. We are disinfecting our facilities routinely, focusing on high-touch and high-traffic surfaces such as doors and door handles, bathroom surfaces, handrails and light switches.

Are restroom facilities open?

A: Yes, all our restroom facilities opened to the public June 4.

Will restrooms have hand sanitizer and soap?

A: Availability of sanitation and personal protection equipment is limited nationally. We recommend you bring soap for handwashing and hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol where water is not available. The CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and if using hand sanitizer, to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

Buying permits

How will we purchase park permits while parks offices are closed?

A: We encourage those interested in purchasing park permits and licenses to do so online in advance if possible. Fishing licenses are not available to purchase at parks.

If you are at the park, look for the self-service station, a raised, locked box called an Iron Ranger that is near the park entrance or near the park fee signage in our campgrounds. This allows you to purchase daily park entry permits remotely and pay for walk-up camping. Iron Rangers are cash and check only.

Certain parks also have open kiosks or gatehouses for purchases, directions, and other information. These facilities will be routinely disinfected per CDC guidelines.

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Why didn't NGPC waive permit requirements during the initial closures?

A: Nebraska statutes have no provisions for eliminating the need for a fishing, hunting or park entry permit when an individual is engaging in those activities. As a predominantly self-funded organization, we depend on license fees to fund programming important to Nebraskans. State parks’ grounds have remained open to day-use activities and have not been closed to the public.

Fishing

Can I still go fishing?

A: Yes, anglers can easily practice social distancing while enjoying time on the water or bank fishing. Anglers can fish from shore as long as it is not within a buoyed or closed area of the shoreline. Social distancing and group size limits will still prevail. Remember to spread out.

Is the Trout Lake still open?

A: Yes, the Trout Lake at Two Rivers State Recreation Area is fully stocked with catchable-size rainbow trout and is open for fishing. Trout tags are being sold via self-service.

COVID-19 response

Find out more about our response to the COVID-19 public health situation.

Health Info

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Camping FAQs