The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) is expected to vote Friday morning on a new master plan for Lake McConaughy.
Months of research, discussion, and planning have produced a new 20 year plan to manage Nebraska’s largest lake.
Craig Wacker, NGPC recreation planner, says safety improvements are key, such as updating public restrooms and shoring up wood frame buildings to be safer storm shelters.
“Also, other safety considerations of maybe too many people congregating into one small area can create some other hazards, so we’re looking at how we manage the amount of people who are coming to the area,” Wacker tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Top 100 list ranked Lake McConaughy as 59th in the country for its fishing and water sports offerings as well as hiking and biking at the site.
To enhance those assets, boat ramps will be improved to increase access to the lake no matter the water level.
“Some of those ramps come in and out of service depending on where the lake water is, so the more that we can have in service at any given time, the better,” Wacker says. “Some of those improvements will be hopefully extending some of those ramps or altering them so they’re in service more of the time.”
The new master plan also includes economic opportunities for the surrounding area.
Community leaders from Ogallala and Keith County took part in the planning process, with an overall goal of expanding visitor options.
“To create a cohesive tourist destination for the region, so that people have more places to go than just the park and we’re helping out the economy of the region as a whole,” Wacker says, “as opposed to just driving people into the park.”
There is no total cost of the work outlined over the next 20 years, because planners cannot accurately estimate labor and material costs ten to 20 years from now.
The plan is divided into five, four year phases.