Check out Nebraska’s new outdoor recreation areas
Nebraska is home to an abundance of parks, rivers, lakes and recreation areas. That means you don’t have to go far to find trail rides, fishing, boating, rafting, camping, naturalist programs, hayrack rides and even cookouts on the weekends. Given the availability of all these opportunities, it may be hard to believe that there’s room for more, but two new recreation areas and a shooting facility have opened within the last two years.
Maple Creek Recreation Area near Leigh, which cost more than $8 million and took two years to build, opened in May 2011. The dam, built on the west fork of Maple Creek, created a 160-acre lake that serves as drainage for the Maple Creek Watershed and flood protection for Leigh and nearby property owners. The reservoir was designed with features that will create better water quality, better habitat and, thus, better fishing when compared to those built many years ago.
The entire recreation area in northeast Nebraska covers more than 550 acres and includes RV and primitive camping sites as well as hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. The lake is stocked with large-mouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish.
The project is the result of a partnership between the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska Department of Roads and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Just 30 minutes from Omaha and Lincoln, this 1,777-acre site features picnic shelters, miles of trails, campsites and boat ramps. The reservoir, which opened this spring, was built for fishing and is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, blue catfish, crappie, northern pike and walleye.
The name comes from Wanahoo Park, a popular gathering place for Wahoo-area residents through the mid-1960s. The recreation area offers camping, no-wake boating, fishing and hunting. A hiking and biking trial winds through the area, and a pedestrian bridge stretches across the lake. Mowed trails provide access to undeveloped wildlife habitat.
The state is also committed to helping youth discover and learn nature-based outdoor recreation skills such as hunting and shooting sports. In 2011, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission opened a multipurpose shooting range at Platte River State Park between South Bend and Louisville.
The new facility accommodates several shooting disciplines, including an archery range with shooting tower, a 50-yard small bore rifle range and an indoor 10-meter pellet gun range. It allows youth and families to participate in outdoor pursuits that can become lifelong hobbies.