This is the weekend to enjoy the Nebraska and South Dakota state park systems for free – and to get in some fishing for free as well.
South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks began its Open House and Free Fishing Weekend yesterday and it runs through tomorrow while Nebraska Game and Parks limits its annual Free Fishing and Park Entry Day to today.
In both states, park entry permits and anglers can fish without a permit – although they still must observe all other fishing requirements. Camping, lodging, and all other user fees also still apply.
Game and Parks opens its full summer schedule Memorial Day Weekend and holds the free day a week earlier as a soft opening to let staff get their feet under them before the full onslaught of tourists.
The agency also sees free admission and special events as a way to get local residents to come out and get excited about the parks, then pass that enthusiasm on to out-of-town family and friends.
Fort Robinson State Park is among the sites with special activities today. There’s a Kids Fishing Tournament from 9-11:00 for kids 12-and-under at the Grabel Ponds. Registration opens at 8:30.
Fort Rob is also offering a BBQ lunch for $9 from 11:00-1:00 on the west lawn, weather-permitting, with free Jeep and horse-drawn wagon rides at the same time.