Game And Parks Commission To Delay Lake Mac Changes

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is delaying action on proposed changes to the Visitor Management Plan at Lake McConaughy that would drastically limit overnight campers and beachgoers at the state’s largest lake.

The commission is meeting this Wednesday, but agency director Jim Douglas says it won’t act on the proposed changes intended to address over-crowding and over-burdened infrastructure.

An informational open house last Thursday at the Lake McConaughy Visitor and Water Interpretive Center drew hundreds, many of who were unhappy with the proposal. Many of the written comments received about the plan have also been negative, leading to the decision to delay action.

Douglas says the commission and staff have listened to and heard the concerns of local citizens, officials and business owners, and now will “take pause in the adoption of the current recommendations to consider the full array of suggestions.”

Complaints of overcrowding and rowdy behavior last 4th of July led to the proposed changes to address overcrowding on the lake’s beaches by limiting attendance in some places.

Under the plan, public access to boat ramps at McConaughy and neighboring Lake Ogallala would remain unchanged, but day-use areas would be created, and all camping spaces would be reservation-only and limited to 600. Critics said the plan would hurt local businesses.

The proposal was a joint effort by agency staff, local officials, visitors to Lake McConaughy, and the public to create a better, safer family-friendly environment. Game and Parks intends to form a local advisory committee to continue to develop recommendations that will be effective in creating a safe and manageable environment.

Douglas says “Nebraskans are passionate about outdoor recreation because it is an important part of their quality of life,” so the agency appreciates the input received thus far and will “continue to ask for suggestions on how to best move forward to achieve our common goals.”

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