A new Lower Platte River Recreation Master Plan has been prepared for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) and the Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance. The purpose of this recreation plan is to assess the existing conditions within the Corridor, to identify recreation issues and need for improvements, and to make recommendations for future recreation improvements. The existing conditions evaluated as part of this plan are river conditions, recreation resources including river access, and recreational use including a survey of recreationists. Recommendations provided in this plan are at a conceptual level and intended to guide future recreation planning and development decisions along the Corridor. The Corridor includes the bluffs and floodplains that surround the lower Platte River, spanning from 3 to 5 miles wide. The Corridor is a source of nature-based recreation for local residents, as well as visitors from outside the area.
The recreation plan focuses largely on the use of state parks, state recreation areas, and wildlife management areas. Natural Resources Districts, cities, and counties operate a variety of recreation areas, parks, and river access facilities. The recreation plan makes suggestions as to how existing facilites can be improved and suggests locations for new facilities.
Starting in 2015 the NGPC, in partnership with the NGPC Foundation, has embarked on an ambitious campaign to create a unique set of adventures at four of Nebraska’s most popular parks: Mahoney State Park, Platte River State Park, Schramm SRA, and Louisville SRA. The Venture Parks will have many different features and attractions ranging from rock climbing walls to water parks, zip lines, and nature centers. Programs such as canoe/kayak tours will be initiated that will get people out to the river to experience one of Nebraska’s greatest natural treasures. The Venture Park Program will bring exposure and visitors to the lower Platte River for many years to come.
The LPRCA is in the process of creating a mobile web app that will provide information pertinent to the river and recreation on it. It will include current river and weather conditions, time of travel from one access point to the next, amenities and facilities at individual areas, and unique information about the water trail. Our app is expected to premier in late 2016 to early 2017. The LPRCA is partnering with the National Park Service Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program through September 2017. By working through their Midwest Region office, this partnership will focus on working with local stakeholders and communities to improve education, conservation planning, and recreation opportunities on the lower Platte River. The LPRCA and NPS will be conducting public meetings in the summer and fall of 2016 at locations throughout the Corridor.