The management of the state recreational areas around Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala will be outlined next week by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) staff.
The proposed 20 year master plan also looks at future development around the popular western Nebraska destination.
Michelle Stryker, NGPC’s Planning and Programming Division administrator, says improvements will be phased in over four-year intervals.
“We need to do that for financial reasons as well as making sure that we evaluate as we go to ensure that we’re actually meeting the needs of our public there,” Stryker tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Each phase will be rolled out, so that everybody will see what’s going to happen.”
Along with improving boating and fishing, and protecting natural resources and wildlife, Stryker says safety is a priority.
“There are actually access points that were created a long, long time ago that are still open that we’re looking at,” she says. “How do we deal with those?”
As environmental needs are taken care of with the plan, it also must be in line with federal rules governing Kingsley Dam, which created the lakes and is managed by the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District.
Some improvements will be costly, Stryker says, such as modern campgrounds to meet increased needs.
“In today’s world, the cost [of modern campgrounds] is – because of the septic system and the water system and all of that – over a million dollars, at least,” she says. “We’re looking at large price tags for a lot of our larger items that we’re proposing.”
Stryker says outlining the master plan proposal and getting more public feedback are the goals of the August 4th meeting in Keith County, before the Game and Parks Board of Commissioners review everything in mid-August.
If commissioners give final approval of the plan in October, work on phase one priority items will begin right away.
“One of them would be a campground improvement over at Lone Eagle that we’ve been working on for a while,” Stryker says. “We’re going to try to get that finalized and move forward to be open next spring, if possible, or be in major construction at that time.”
The public meeting will be held Thursday, Aug. 4 at 7 p.m. (Mountain Time) at the Keith County Fairgrounds exhibit hall, 1100 W 5th St., Ogallala.
AUDIO: Mike Loizzo reports [:44]