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Guests of the North-Central Nebraska State Parks will enjoy many improvements – KCSR/KBPY

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This year, visitors are in for a host of improvements at Nebraska’s north-central state parks. Projects that are completed in 2023 or are scheduled to be completed in 2024 will appeal to a wide variety of park users. The following is an overview of these improvements and projects:

Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area

The demand for modern camping facilities in central Nebraska is high. At Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area, West Ridge Campground has been expanded in a $1.1 million project. The campsite now has 61 camping pitches with Electric Plus (30/50 amp) service. The roof of a shower house was also replaced.

Smith Falls State Park

Visitors once again enjoy the sight of Smith Falls, Nebraska’s tallest waterfall. The waterfall at Smith Falls State Park, and the newly constructed 500-foot boardwalk to it, reopened in 2023, replacing the wooden boardwalk.

The $2.7 million project includes a boardwalk built of composite decking on a steel frame with aluminum railings and is American with Disabilities Act compliant. New benches provide places for visitors to rest and a platform above the stream has been added halfway along the walkway.

Calamus State Recreation Area

A new activity is available to visitors to the popular Calamus State Recreation Area as an archery range has been built for just over $6,000.

Long pine State Recreation Area

Two American with Disabilities Act compliant vault toilets are expected to be replaced this year at the Long Pine State Recreation Area.

Keller Park State Recreation Area

Campers in the Keller Park State Recreation Area will find RV campsites that have received electrical upgrades at a cost of more than $300,000. Two ADA-compliant vault toilets are expected to be replaced this year.

Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area

Good news for campers at the Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area: The West Beeds campground will be expanded with 14 Electric Plus sites and a new shower house in a $900,000 project slated for completion this year.

Victoria Springs State Recreation Area

A roof was replaced at the Victoria Springs State Recreation Area at a cost of more than $5,000.

These state park system projects have been largely funded by Capital Maintenance Funds, which were established by the Nebraska Legislature in 2016 to help maintain Nebraska’s public outdoor recreation facilities and parks; state and federal funding sources; and Nebraska Game and Parks funds generated from state park system user fees.