Lake McConaughy SRA Visitor Management Plan

Commission delays Lake McConaughy Visitor Management Plan

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission voted to delay consideration of the proposed Lake McConaughy Visitor Management Plan at its meeting Jan. 22 in Lincoln.

Instead, Game and Parks staff will work with a McConaughy-area advisory group to come up with revisions to the plan and then present them at the Commission’s March 20 meeting in Hastings.

Game and Parks has worked with local officials, park visitors and the public on the plan to make Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala state recreation areas better, safer and more family-friendly. The plan called for controlled beach access and designated camping to help ensure public safety and address over-crowding and over-burdened infrastructure.

“The issues and challenges identified at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala remain,” Parks Division Administrator Jim Swenson said. “The Commission has been tasked by Keith County representatives to address those issues and challenges. We look forward to working with a local advisory group to gain success in restoring Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala to quality and safe recreation environments.”

Hundreds of people attended a Game and Parks informational open house at the Lake McConaughy Visitor and Water Interpretive Center on Jan. 16 and the Commission also reviewed and received public comments through the website.

Creating a better, safer, family-friendly destination.

Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (SRA) hosted an unprecedented number of visitors in 2018 and 2019 which stressed both park infrastructure and resources and local public safety resources. In response, NGPC is partnering with Keith County Commissioners, local public safety officials and the general public to create higher quality experiences for all at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala SRAs.

A 20-year master plan for Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala was adopted in October 2016. This plan puts forth solutions to problems that have been identified by an advisory committee, park users and interested citizens. The plan addresses solutions to lack of facilities for large crowds, heavy beach usage on weekends and holidays, law enforcement presence, and the protection of the threatened and endangered species that use the beaches.