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Southeast Nebraska state parks enjoy many improvements

Visitors to state park areas in southeast Nebraska will find enhanced day-use and camping amenities. Projects completed in 2023 or to be finished in 2024 will appeal to an array of park users. The following is a roundup of those improvements and projects:

Indian Cave State Park

A new boardwalk to the cave at Indian Cave State Park has been installed, replacing the one destroyed by mudslides in 2019. This boardwalk is compliant with the American with Disabilities Act and cost more than $800,000 to complete.

The Hackberry Hollow Campground shower building has been remodeled at a cost of nearly $300,000. This updated the siding, plumbing, fixtures, showers and replaced outdated equipment to become ADA compliant.

The maintenance shop/office doors have been replaced at a cost of almost $8,000. This will assist with sealing the outside drafts within the building and reduce utility cost.

A waterline placement project is projected to start in 2024 to add water to several group and tent camping areas, living history facilities and the equestrian campground. Visitors will enjoy easy access to a water source to use for drinking and for their horses when this project, which should cost nearly $300,000, is completed.

Rock Creek Station State Historical Park and State Recreation Area

Bridge repairs and bank stabilization, due to the erosion along the historic Oregon Trail, have been completed at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park at a cost of more than $580,000. The banks and bridge over Rock Creek had been experiencing sloughing.

The current septic system – including infrastructure, sewage lagoon and lift stations – is being inspected at a cost of nearly $19,000 to find ways to improve it.

Pawnee State Recreation Area

The upgrade of the marina building at Pawnee State Recreation Area has been completed at a cost of $80,000. The building, which is shared with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln rowing club, includes new restrooms, utilities, offices and a conference room. The rowing club uses half of the building to store its boats, for meetings, trainings and possible future concessions.

All 28 sites in the Area 3 Campground have been upgraded from basic to 50-, 30- and 20-amp electrical service.

Electrical upgrades to Area 4 Campground are completed. The new additions have campsites with 50-, 30- and 20-amp electrical service. This $192,000 project will create more electrical camping opportunities for the already popular sites at Pawnee SRA.

Alexandria State Recreation Area

A new ADA-accessible vault toilet will be installed in 2024 at Alexandria State Recreation Area at a cost of $35,000 to replace an aging facility.

Conestoga State Recreation Area

A design concept is underway at Conestoga State Recreation Area to upgrade campsites from basic to electrical service and add a shower house.

Branched Oak State Recreation Area

The $2.5 million Area 1 lagoon project at Branched Oak State Recreation Areais nearing completion for 2024. The new lagoon was added to replace the aging septic system in the Area 1 campground. The lagoon will be used for two restrooms, dump station and full-service campsites. Expansion of the septic system could be possible into the future with this new septic system.

Olive Creek State Recreation Area

A tree removal project has continued at Olive Creek State Recreation Area due to a wildfire in October of 2022. Hazardous trees have been removed throughout the area at a cost of $1,600.

These state park system projects largely have been funded by Capital Maintenance Funds, which were established by the Nebraska Legislature to help preserve Nebraska’s public outdoor recreation facilities and parklands; state and federal funding sources; and Nebraska Game and Parks’ funds generated from user fees of the state park system.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at or 402-471-5008.

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