LINCOLN, Neb. – A state parks mobile application being developed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is expected to be ready for public use by the end of June.
It is the first phase of a Game and Parks application that will let smart phone users connect to the outdoors while on the go. Commissioners were given a staff report on the project at their May 25 meeting in Blair.
The second and third phases of the application, which will be known as the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Guide, will be fish and game, and permits, respectively. Fish and game will include hunting, fishing and watchable wildlife.
The free application, which will be available at iTunes and the Android Marketplace, will deliver real-time information, as well as access to guides, regulations and information about Game and Parks properties.
The commissioners heard the following other staff reports:
Habitat Programs – A recap of the 2011 accomplishments shows that projects in 86 counties encompassed 84,432 acres on 180 wildlife management areas, and 5,461 landowners received technical assistance. Affected habitat included 66,068 grassland acres, 9,005 wetland acres, 6,775 cropland acres and 2,584 woodland acres. Also, 17,008 acres were treated with prescribed fire, 22,441 were treated with prescribed grazing/haying, and 16,534 were treated for invasive trees. The Open Fields and Waters Program had 631 landowners and 272,031 acres enrolled.
Cabela’s Wanna Go Fishing for Millions? – This contest, which could award an angler up to $2 million for catching a tagged fish, got underway May 5 and continues through July 8. The promotion takes place in the 19 states that are home to a Cabela’s store. Ten Nebraska lakes contain tagged fish. To be eligible for prizes, anglers first must register at www.cabelas.com/fishformillions.
Niobrara River Activity – A draft of the Niobrara Confluence and Ponca Bluffs Land Protection Plan will be prepared jointly by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service late this summer. Game and Parks is working with the agencies to conserve natural resources and potentially provide additional public access along parts of the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska.
A scientific study that could be the foundation for a Niobrara River instream flow application is expected to be completed this year.
Create a Commercial for Critter Conservation Contest – It was announced that Crete High School was the overall winner in the contest. People had been invited to create a commercial featuring Nebraska’s animals and plants that helps people appreciate wildlife and highlight the importance of the Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund. The winner was determined by a public online vote. The winning entries can be viewed at NebraskaWildlifeFund.com. The winning commercial eventually may be viewed as a public service announcement on Nebraska television stations.
Family Fishing Nights – These events, part of the agency’s plan to recruit, develop and retain anglers to reverse declining trends in angler participation, invite families to fish at locations where Game and Parks provides instruction, equipment and bait. There were 2,017 participants at 29 events in 2011, with an average attendance of 78. Most of the participants were ages 5 to 14 years and attended with persons ages 25 to 39. Participation was nearly equal among the genders, with slightly more boys in the younger ages and more women in the parental age groups. A list of 2012 events may be found at:
High School Fishing Clubs – Game and Parks is working to expand high school fishing, now in its second year in Nebraska. The 2012 state tournament will be July 28 at Summit Lake.
In other business, the commissioners transferred management responsibilities of five tracts in southeast Nebraska from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Game and Parks. Two tracts are at Langdon Bend Wildlife Management Area (WMA), two at Brownville Bend WMA and one at Tobacco Island WMA.
The commissioners approved camping fees at the new Lake Wanahoo State Recreation Area. The per-night camping fees are $17 for gravel electric sites, $13 for grass electric sites, and $7 for tent sites.
They also approved a change fund at Lake Wanahoo SRA and an increase in change funds at Game and Parks’ Norfolk and Alliance district offices.
The next meeting will be July 27 in Lincoln.