LINCOLN – The Nebraska Game and Parks announced that beginning on April 6 overnight camping will be prohibited through May 8 at state parks, state recreation areas and wildlife management areas throughout the state of Nebraska.
Refunds will be given to campers who have prepaid fees. The camping closure will be reevaluated in the future to determine if an extension is necessary.
The changes are all done in an effort to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 throughout the state of Nebraska.
Nebraska Game and Parks State Parks Director Jim Swenson said that the decision was made to limit travel between states.
“That is the goal, to limit travel across state lines. Other states have implemented the same plan and I think it is important that we are all working together,” Swenson stated.
State parks and recreation areas remain open for day use so guests may enjoy activities such as fishing, hiking, biking and wildlife viewing while maintaining proper physical distancing of at least six feet. A limited number of restrooms, which will be disinfected regularly using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols, will be available.
Swenson and the NGPC have been monitoring use of the state parks the past two weekends and activity has been brisk.
“There has been a lot of activity at our parks over the last two weekends. People have been taking part in the traditional activities. Fishing, hiking, biking and we are encouraged by that,” Swenson stated.
At the same time he wants to make sure that park goers are following and adhering to the guidelines set by state and national health organizations.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recommends travelers coming to Nebraska or back to Nebraska from out-of-state should limit public interactions, practice strict social distancing, self-monitor for symptoms, and self-quarantine for 14 days, if feasible.
State park and recreation area playgrounds and play structures are closed as of March 30 until further notice. The closures are in keeping with national recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which encourag
es maintaining physical distance’ and limiting in-person social interactions.
With more and more limitations and closures throughout the State Parks system, Swenson has been bolstered by the show of support by people throughout the state.
“People have been very understanding. I think it is a time for everyone to come together and work toward being a part of the solution,” Swenson stated.