Outdoor notes: Clean, dry and dry boats; Rock Creek Trail Days; Mahoney SP melodramas

LINCOLN, Neb. – With summer’s arrival comes an increase in boating activity. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reminds boaters to be wary of destructive aquatic invasive species (AIS) and to prevent their spread by cleaning, draining and drying their watercraft.

Boaters may not launch or leave a boat ramp facility with any water present in the watercraft unless it is from a domestic water source. In addition, boaters are required to drain all lake or river water from the watercraft and remove any vegetation or mud from the boat and trailer before leaving a boat ramp.

Also while at the boat ramp, pull the plugs from bilge, live wells and watercraft to drain upon leaving a water body. Trim the motor up and down to facilitate the draining of water from the water pump. The transport of aquatic plant species such as curly leaf pondweed and Eurasian water milfoil can result in future boating and fishing access issues if introduced into a new water body. On water bodies that have zebra mussel populations, baitfish must be disposed properly on the area before leaving.

Zebra mussels are present in Offutt Base Lake at Bellevue, Lewis and Clark Lake, the entire Missouri River downstream of the Gavins Point Dam, and Lake Yankton, located just below the dam.

The following Clean, Drain and Dry protocol should be used after boating and before launching in a different water body:

— Rinse the boat and all equipment with hot tap water, ideally more than 140 degrees F, to kill AIS such as zebra and quagga mussels. Vinegar also can be used to kill young zebra and quagga mussels, especially in live wells.

— Spray the boat, live well, engine and trailer with a high-pressure sprayer.

— If washing a boat away from the water body you are leaving, do not allow runoff, which could have mussels, to enter a drainage.

— Dry the boat and all equipment for at least five days. Use a towel to speed the process, especially in the live well, and open all compartments.

Other reminders:

— Boaters on Nebraska public waters may be contacted by boat inspectors this summer. The goal of these voluntary inspections is to reduce the risk of AIS being spread across the state.

— Motorized watercraft registered outside of Nebraska are required to purchase and display an Aquatic Invasive Species Stamp before launching from any Nebraska boat ramp. For more information, or to purchase the stamp, visit OutdoorNebraska.org and click on Buy a Permit. Fees collected from this stamp and an additional fee on resident boat registrations fund a program to educate the public about AIS.

For more information on all invasive species, visit neinvasives.gov.


Rock Creek Trail Days set for June 2-3

LINCOLN, Neb. – See Nebraska history come to life during Rock Creek Trail Days June 2-3 at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park.

Activities will include black powder gun demonstrations, Pony Express run, wagon rides, Hickok-McCanles Fracas reenactment, military skirmish, and demonstrations of various period trades. There will be a free-will donation lunch on June 2 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and a buffalo stew cookout June 2 at 7 p.m. The cookout will feature entertainment by David Marsh, presenting “Music of the Civil War.” Tickets for the cookout must be purchased in advance. They are $9 for adults and $6 for ages 13 and under; call the park at 402-729-5777.

Visitors can see deep trail ruts formed by wagon trains that passed through the area and view reconstructed buildings, as well as the toll bridge over Rock Creek. The visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Camping is available at the adjacent Rock Creek State Recreation Area. A park entry permit is required. Rock Creek Station is located southeast of Fairbury in Jefferson County.

Rock Creek Station was established in 1857 along the Oregon and California trails. It was a supply center and resting spot for westward emigrants and later became a Pony Express relay station. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission developed it as a state historical park in 1980.


Melodramas to light up the stage at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park

LINCOLN, Neb. – Grab the popcorn and enjoy some light-hearted family fun at a Eugene T. Mahoney State Park melodrama this summer.

This year’s schedule features the premiere of three plays in conjunction with Popcorn Productions:

— “The Easterner,” written by D. Chapelle, tells the tale of a slacker from New York City who strives to save the beautiful Millie from Mooselips Tompkins, the village villain.

— Written by D. Chapelle, the play “Finefellow’s Fireworks Folly” features the story of a wedding jeopardized by a dastardly bank embezzler.

— “The Witch of Waverly Wood,” written by Julie Eschliman, follows the adventures of a grown-up Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood, who must save a handsome stranger from a scheming witch.

Plays are held at The Denman and Mary Mallory Kountze Memorial Theatre starting May 25, with a rotating schedule, five days a week. For a complete schedule, visit Melodrama.net.

Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $5 for children ages 12 and under, and $20 for families of two adults and two children under 12. Present a theater ticket at Caddy’s Parkside Grill, Mahoney’s new restaurant, on the day of the show and receive 10 percent off the cost of your entree.

For more information, call the park at 402-944-2523. A Nebraska park entry permit is needed for each vehicle entering the park.

Platte River State Park shooting sports facility summer hours begin May 28

LINCOLN, Neb. – Platte River State Park’s shooting sports facility opens for its summer schedule on May 28.

The Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex will be open weekdays from noon to 6 p.m., except it will be closed on Thursday. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

The facility is a family-friendly shooting sports complex with a focus on safety and family fun. This center features an archery range with a shooting tower, a 50-yard small-bore rifle range, a trap range with 5-stand feature and an indoor 10-meter pellet gun range. The ranges were created with everyone in mind, regardless of size, ability or skill level.

Call the park at 402-234-2217 for more information. A park entry permit is required of each vehicle entering the park.

Boating safety courses offered across Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. – With summer here, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is reminding water lovers to be mindful of the state’s education requirements for boating.

Nebraska law requires any motorboat or personal watercraft operator born after Dec. 31, 1985 to complete a boating safety course and be in possession of a course certificate. Operators must be at least 14 years old to drive motorboats and personal watercraft in Nebraska.

Game and Parks offers three options for taking boating safety courses. They are:

— Option A – six-hour classroom course followed by proctored exam;

— Option B – home-study course in which students can download study materials before attending a three-hour review and proctored exam;

— Option C – online course for a fee of $29.95.

Classroom courses are scheduled at locations throughout the state in the coming months. To find a schedule of course offerings, as well as other boating information, visit boatsafenebraska.org. The course schedule and registration information may be found in the “boater education” section.

Fort Robinson’s summer theater lineup to include popular favorites

LINCOLN, Neb. – Post Playhouse, Inc., located at Fort Robinson State Park just west of Crawford, is set for another season of popular plays for all ages.

The theater’s summer lineup includes favorites such as Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Footloose,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Urinetown,” and “42nd Street.” Showings take place throughout the week from June to August.

Ticket information and pricing is available online at Postplayhouse.com. A Nebraska park entry permit is required of each vehicle entering the park.