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Swimming, camping reopening at Nebraska state parks next week
special report

Swimming, camping reopening at Nebraska state parks next week

Smith Falls State Park (copy)

Eli West of Omaha cools off at Smith Falls State Park.

Put on a swimsuit and get the camper ready. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will reopen camping and designated swimming areas Thursday.

All reservation-only campsites and first-come, first-served campsites — with two exceptions — will be available to all camping units, including RVs, camping trailers and tents.

Mormon Island and Danish Alps State Recreation Areas will remain closed to overnight camping due to high COVID-19 incidence in those communities, the commission said in a press release.

Game and Parks reminds park guests to practice social distancing to ensure compliance with the state’s directed health measures.

Park areas that will accommodate advance reservations for up to 50% of available campsites are listed on the agency website, OutdoorNebraska.gov.

Local families are camping at home, and kids say it's just as fun

Other details:

  • To provide for more opportunity for campers, the maximum length of stay will be seven days.
  • Park offices remain closed at this time. Campers must pay for reserved sites online or for first-come, first-served sites via iron rangers.
  • Shower houses and modern restrooms will open. Guests should bring soap or disinfecting wipes, as availability of sanitation products is limited nationally.
  • Outdoor playgrounds will open. Guests should bring their own hand sanitizer.

“We are thrilled at the prospect of more people enjoying our parks, but it is critical that they recreate responsibly,” Parks Division Administrator Jim Swenson said in a press release. “Responsible recreation is very important, and guests need to continue to practice social distancing, follow all posted rules, keep group sizes small and practice good personal hygiene.”

The commission also asks that guests minimize travel distance, avoid high-touch areas and stick to low-risk activities to reduce stress on local emergency response and health care systems.

Park guests are encouraged to buy state park and fishing permits ahead of time at OutdoorNebraska.gov or at a vendor.

jwade@owh.com, 402-444-1067

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Jessica Wade covers breaking news, crime and the Omaha zoo. Follow her on Twitter @Jess_Wade_OWH. Phone: 402-444-1067

Related to this story

Nationwide, more than 47,000 National Guard members have been called up for federal or state service to aid with the medical response, including more than 600 in Nebraska and 900 in Iowa. Across the two states, Guard soldiers and airmen have set up and staffed coronavirus testing sites, delivered medical supplies to hard-hit counties, ferried test samples to laboratories and boxed up supplies for food banks.

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