Platte River Recreation Access Program
This program has opened up some land along the Platte River to limited public access. Activities allowed vary by site, and a permission slip is needed for daily use.
About the program
In 1997, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and the Department of Interior formed a unique partnership with the goal of developing a shared approach for managing the Platte River. Water users from the three states and local and national conservation groups joined the effort. Together, these stakeholders developed an innovative approach for improving the management of the Platte for the health of the ecosystem and the people who depend on it.
The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP) is the result of that planning effort. The program is focused on implementing this shared vision for creating and maintaining habitat on the Platte for four threatened and endangered species: piping plover, least tern, whooping crane and pallid sturgeon . More information on PRRIP can be found at www.platteriverprogram.org.
How to access PRRIP land for hunting, wildlife watching and other recreation
Additionally, the PRRIP has opened up around 6,000 acres of limited public access. Activities allowed vary by site, include hunting, fishing, mushroom collecting, bird watching and hiking. However, a permission slip is required for daily use. Overnight camping is not allowed at any of the sites.
Users creating and using multiple accounts, or any account other than their own, is not permitted and may result in access being revoked.
Area Q, near Grand Island, will be opened later this year.
Frequently Asked Questions
In 2011, a partnership was formed between PRRIP and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to open some of these sites to limited public recreation with written permission. They are available for the public to use but only for select activities and only with a land access form which is available at www.platteaccess.org. The number of land access forms available for each day depends on the size of the property and other factors that may limit the number of recreational users allowed.
Land access forms for all dates other than the November rifle deer season will be available on the PRRA website. For the November rifle deer season, land access forms will be issued through a random drawing. Applications for this drawing are available at the Kearney NGPC office, or you can call 308-865-5338.
To obtain a land access form, you must be 18 or older. Each land access form is good for the individual named on the permit and one youth age 17 or under at the specific site on the date specified on the land access form. Accompanying youth must be included on the liability waiver. Both of the youth’s parents or legal guardians must sign, unless the one parent signing has full legal custody of the youth. Any individual using these sites for hunting or fishing purposes must also have appropriate licenses or permits for that activity.
You may reserve up to three access forms for the current and future dates. You may only have one access form for any particular day. If you have already reserved three dates, as soon as the first date has passed, you are able to reserve another date as long as there is one available.
Limiting the number of reservations will allow other users more opportunity to reserve the sites. This practice also encourage users to cancel early if their plans change.
You can cancel a reservation at any time from the “My Reservations” section of the website. Cancelling as soon as you decide that you won’t be using the reservation will give other users the chance to reserve the date.
Deer hunting, turkey hunting, small game hunting, waterfowl hunting, mushroom collection, fishing, bird watching, hiking and incidental coyote/furbearer hunting during open seasons for other species (trapping and predator calling prohibited) are the only authorized activities on these site, unless special rules and regulations apply. Certain sites are closed to some of the above activities.
No. Because these properties were purchased for the management of threatened and endangered species, certain portions of the areas are closed to access during critical periods of the year for those species. All areas will be closed from March 6 through April 29 and from Oct. 9 through Nov. 15 during the spring and fall whooping crane migration periods. The closed areas will be clearly marked with signs. The land access forms have aerial photos with these areas marked as well. All access by recreational users onto these closed areas is strictly prohibited. Any user entering those areas may be subject to prosecution under state or federal statutes.
Sites may be closed temporarily for construction or other concerns. If this occurs, anyone that already has a land access form issued for those dates will be notified by NGPC that the area has been closed and that the land access form is no longer valid.
Yes, but the land access form will not be available through the standard first-come, first-serve method. Due to high demand for access during the rifle deer season, applications will be accepted at the Kearney Nebraska Game and Parks Commission office, and a lottery-style drawing will be held to issue access forms for the rifle deer season. This pertains only to the November firearm season. The January antlerless season will operate normally. Areas E, J and N are closed to center-fire rifle use. Deer hunting is not allowed on Areas B, M and O.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offers a variety of tags for deer hunting, each with its own set of rules. A Habitat Stamp is also required. The PRRA sites are all located within the Buffalo unit; additionally, Statewide Buck, Archery, Muzzleloader and River Antlerless tags are eligible for use on these sites. For permit guidelines and instructions, see our hunting guides.
Certain sites are closed to hunting with centerfire rifles due to safety concerns and proximity to towns.
Users are encouraged to help each other in dragging out game, but any additional people must make their own reservations before entering the property.
No, these sites are for walk-in use only.
No. The use of drones or trail cameras is not allowed on PRRA properties.
Allowing multiple youth with each user could allow an unsafe number of people to access the property at the same time.
Parking only in designated areas streamlines management of recreation access, prevents issues with vehicle traffic on public roads and reduces the potential for interference with the land management activities of PRRIP or neighboring landowners.
Portable tree stands may be left in place Aug. 16-Feb. 1. Portable tree stands left in place are available on a first-come/first-served basis, and users accept all risk of property loss. Tree stands left in place outside of the allowed dates are subject to confiscation.
Portable blinds are allowed but must be packed in and packed out each day. Any items left overnight may become the property of NGPC or PRRIP or may be used by any other recreational users on the property. Screw–in steps or other items that may cause any damage to vegetation or structures on the area are not allowed. Users are highly recommended to have hunter orange displayed on the top of any temporary stands, blinds or concealment used for deer hunting on the PRRA lands in order to increase visibility to other users.
These properties are managed primarily for the benefit of three target species: whooping Crane, least Tern and piping plover. PRRIP conducts habitat restoration and maintenance, including tree clearing along river channels for crane roosting habitat, sandbar maintenance for tern and plover nesting, and haying, grazing, and burning to manage grassland vegetation.
The annual survey is an important way for users to provide feedback on the administration of the program. Invitations are sent to every user who reserved at least one date during the past year. All surveys and comments are taken into consideration for future changes to the program.
For further questions, contact:
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
1617 1st Avenue
Kearney, NE 68847
Purchase hunting, big game and turkey permits, as well as supertags and combo lotteries.