This Saturday is Free Fishing and Park Entry Day for all Nebraska state parks, state recreation areas, and state historical parks while South Dakota’s Open House and Free Fishing Weekend runs Saturday and Sunday.
Both have the same goat: getting local residents to come out and get excited about the parks, then pass that enthusiasm on to out-of-town family and friends.
Since Nebraska Game and Parks opens its full summer schedule next weekend, the free day serves as a soft opening to let staff get their feet under them before the full onslaught of tourists.
In both states, park entry permits are waived and anglers can fish without a permit, although they must observe all other fishing requirements. Camping, lodging, and all other user fees such as admission to museums also still apply.
Family-friendly activities are scheduled at a number of Nebraska Game and Parks locations across the state, including at Fort Robinson State Park.
Fort Rob has a Kids’ Fishing Derby for ages 12-and-under from 9-11:00 at Grable Ponds and a hamburger, salad and drink BBQ from 11-1:00. on the west lawn of the lodge. The cost of the BBQ is $11 for adults and $5.50 for kids 12 and under.
Not officially a Game and Parks event but scheduled in conjunction with the Fee Free Day is the 2nd Annual Northwest Nebraska Volksmarch at Chadron State Park.
Northwest Nebraska Tourism Director Kerri Rempp says the Volksmarch attracts participants from near and far, making it a good fit for the Fee Free Day.
The Volksmarch isn’t free, but the cost is only $3, mainly to cover insurance, with children in strollers free and all kids under 12 will get a special award.
Participants can choose between a 5K or 10K route. Walkers can start anytime between 8 and 11:00