NORTH PLATTE, Neb. KNOP-TV The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission opened a first-come, first-serve camping policy at Lake Maloney Friday.
The policy also applies to Smith Falls State Park, including 34 state recreation areas and wildlife management areas for all camping units, which includes tents.
Shower houses, designated swimming beaches, playgrounds, and park activities will remain closed. However, a limited number of primitive restrooms will be available.
Park regulations allow for up to eight people per campsite.
"All designated swimming areas are closed right now. Does that mean people can't be out in the water? No, people can still go out in the water, in their boats on their jet skis," said Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Public Information Officer Julie Geiser. "It's just that those swim beaches tend to have congregations of many, many people."
Geiser says the ongoing health recommendations for social distancing and group sizes less than 10 to meet the state Directed Health Measures still apply.
"Even game and parks staff, most of us are campers, anglers, kayakers and boaters, we want to be outside as well," said Geiser. "This is one of those situations where we have to think of each other and each other's safety as well too."
Camping will continue to be limited. You can make your advanced reservations at OutdoorNebraska.gov/reservations.
No first-come, first-served camping is allowed at these locations, and no tents will be allowed at this time, but expanded camping may be allowed in the near future.
They include: Branched Oak, Calamus, Chadron, Eugene T. Mahoney, Fort Kearney, Fort Robinson, Fremont, Indian Cave, Johnson Lake, Lake McConaughy, Lake Minatare, Lake Ogallala, Lewis and Clark, Louisville, Medicine Creek Reservoir, Merritt Reservoir, Niobrara, Pawnee, Platte River, Ponca, Rock Creek Station, Two Rivers, Victoria Springs, Willow Creek, and Windmill state recreation areas, state parks and state historical parks.
Mormon Island State Recreation Area near Grand Island and Danish Alps SRA near Hubbard will not offer camping, as they are near communities with high COVID-19 incidence.
Game and Parks will cautiously phase in additional park services and amenities as advise from health departments and health directives permit.