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Upgrades improve experiences at Omaha metro area state parks

Updated May 31.

Guests at the Omaha metro area state park areas were treated to some improvements in 2023, with more set to be completed in 2024. The following is a roundup of those improvements and projects:

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park

Fort Atkinson State Historical Park celebrated the rededication of its visitor center in June 2023 thanks to generous local supporters and the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation. Funds were raised to support a $717,000 renovation. Educational and interpretive displays in the visitor center were replaced at a cost of nearly $44,800. A new display case was completed in 2023 at $16,700.

The replacement of the deteriorated logs of the fort walls also was completed and drain tile was installed around the inside and outside of the fort to protect from water damage at a cost of $16,000 in 2023.

Also, a new entrance road into the park was completed at a cost of $305,259, covered by the Nebraska State Rec Road Program.

Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

Several major projects have been completed or are ongoing at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, as part of the Venture Parks public-private partnership investing in the Platte River Valley parks. A $4.3 million Crete Carrier Riverview Lodge group rental facility and the $1 million addition to the James Family Conservatory are finished thanks to private donations.

Projects underway include the $5 million Family Aquatic Center water slide construction and the $1.8 million replacement of the air conditioning system at the Peter Kiewit Lodge.

In addition to the Venture Parks projects, three new cabins have been added to Governor’s row. The cabins made possible by a generous private donation, each have four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, fireplace and basement family room. One cabin is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Thanks to Capital Maintenance Funds, the remodeling of two existing cabins has been completed at $63,000 each. All the Lakeside Campground sites were converted to full hook-ups in an $800,000 project. The $200,000 RV dump station project included a new driveway, parking area and dump station.

Memphis State Recreation Area

A vault toilet has been replaced with a new ADA-compliant one for $28,000 at Memphis State Recreation Area.

Platte River State Park

Thanks to the Venture Parks public-private partnership, reservations now are being taken for two new mini-lodge cabins that been completed earlier this year at Platte River State Park at a cost of $1.6 million. Each cabin has four beds, two bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining room and a fireplace. Also, a new shelter was installed.

Two Rivers State Recreation Area

Improvements to the sanitation system at $4.5 million have been completed at Two Rivers State Recreation Area, with federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Campground electrical upgrades from 30 to 50 amps also were completed.

A new ADA-accessible fishing pier opened this spring thanks to a $224,000 public-private partnership matching memorial donations with federal funds.

Louisville State Recreation Area

A more than $1.2 million project underway to improve angler access and fishing success at Louisville State Recreation Area may be completed in June or July. These improvements have been funded by Sportfish Restoration and Aquatic Habitat funds.

Lakes 1, 1A, 2, and 3 are getting ADA-accessible sidewalks, fishing piers, shallow, mid-, and deepwater artificial habitat structures to concentrate fish around access sites, and nonpublic boat ramp improvements. Lake 1A also will be dredged in the southwest bay to remove sediment and improve water quality. Funding sources for these enhancements is provided by federal Funds, Capital Maintenance Funds, and the Aquatic Habitat Program.

A new shelter also was installed over the Bounce House and a vault toilet will be replaced for $30,000.

Schramm Park State Recreation Area

A $9 million Venture Parks public-private project at Schramm Park State Recreation Area is scheduled for completion later this year. The Treehouse Classroom and Interpretive Stream project will be a space for education programming and field trips.

The Interpretive Stream project is a renovation of the former spring-fed “Canyon Ponds” and corresponding boardwalk. The renovation includes rebuilding the ponds, the dams between ponds, an interpretive stream area, stabilizing the banks, and rebuilding the boardwalk to make it ADA accessible.

Also, a new shelter was installed at a cost of more than $40,000.

Across the state, many improvement projects have been funded by Capital Maintenance Funds, which were established by the Nebraska Legislature in 2016 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.

For a list of all improvement projects, visit

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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