Northeast Nebraska State Park Projects  Nearing Completion, Game & Parks Update

LINCOLN – A roundup of several Nebraska State Park improvement projects are underway in the area.

According to a release from Nebraska Game and Parks, some projects were recently completed which addressed the lingering effects of the destructive 2019 flood.

Work will be completed this spring on a 10-mile equestrian trail around Summit Lake near Tekamah with a grand opening event for the trail being planned for late summer. The trail will feature a shallow-water crossing on the southeast corner of the trail. This project is being done through a partnership among the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District and the Nebraska Horse Trails Committee.


Construction is nearing completion on repairs to the looped roadway just north of Ponca State Park’s Riverfront Campground in Ponca. The 2019 flood and high Missouri River levels that same year caused significant erosion to this riverfront area. This project included repairs to graveled roadways, a new culvert and replacement of pre-existing bank stabilization.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) funded 90% of the road repair project at Ponca State Park as the remaining funding was provided by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.


Work will be completed this spring on a new Niobrara River kayak/canoe access at Niobrara State Park. This river access project includes a put-in/take-out for canoes and kayaks, a scenic overlook with interpretive signage and access road. This project is a part of flood mitigation requirements for the construction of the new Mormon Canal Bridge on Highway 12 west of Niobrara. The previous bridge was washed out during the 2019 flood. Construction on the new bridge was completed in 2021.

The project at Niobrara State Park was funded by Nebraska Department of Transportation in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Restoration and repair efforts have been ongoing the past several years on the fort walls at Fort Atkinson State Historical Park near Fort Calhoun. This spring, the second phase of restoration, on the fort’s north wall, will be completed. Work was completed in early 2021 on the first phase, the west wall, before restoration started on the north wall. This project includes log replacement, new flooring and chinking.

The project near Fort Calhoun is being funded by the Fort Atkinson Foundation, with grant assistance through the Helmsley Foundation, and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s Capital Maintenance Fund. Some labor has been provided by staff and the volunteer-based Friends of Fort Atkinson. The Fort Atkinson Foundation is raising funds to continue restoration efforts on east portions of the north wall.


Also, repairs were completed in 2021 on the west causeway/trail and seven jetties at Willow Creek State Recreation Area near Pierce. Ice and high water caused extensive damage to these rock structures during the 2019 flood. The jetties serve as both breakwaters and angler access on this 700-acre lake. The west causeway is part of area’s 10-mile hike/bike trail.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) funded 90% of the project near Pierce while the remainder was paid by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District.

For more information, visit or call 402-471-0641.