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Platte River

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General Information

Snowmelt from the Colorado Rockies at the Continental Divide is the initial water source for both the North and Platte River South Platte Rivers. They converge at the city of North Platte forming the Platte River proper, and ends at the Missouri River near Plattsmouth 310 miles later. From the Rockies it has flowed a distance of 900 miles. Together the three rivers flow across more than 580 miles of Nebraska, and in the process, drain over one-half of the state's land mass.

Nebraska is a corruption of the Omaha and Oto Indian names for this broad, shallow river which translates as flat water. A source of water for wildlife, in turn, meant food for the Indians who learned to hunt game that collected near the rivers. edge. French trappers sought fur-bearing mammals along the river. Lewis and Clark camped at the Platte. s mouth and, in 1830, the Platte River Valley replaced the Missouri River route to the Pacific Northwest. Many overland trails converged in the valley and became known as The Great Platte River Road and as many as 350,000 immigrants made the trek to settle in the west. Today the Platte's waters are used by cities, farmers, power districts and industry.

Section Described

North Bend to Plattsmouth boat dock on the Missouri River - 75 miles.

Characteristics

The Platte's channel is broad, from a few hundred feet to over a thousand feet in places with many sandbars which are used by waterfowl and shorebirds. From above, it looks braided with shallow rivulets and usually one deeper, darker appearing channel that is suitable for canoeing.

Flow is gentle varying from 3-5 miles per hour depending on the time of year. The water is fairly clear but does carry sediment from the adjacent loess bluff and farm land, however, it is not considered muddy like the Missouri River.

In spite of many uses for its waters, the Platte. s flow is continual with the help of controlled discharges from upstream reservoirs. The typical hot, dry Plains summer weather will, nevertheless, affect progress somewhat by lowering and narrowing the navigable channel. On occasion you will find sunken logs and debris left over from floods.

Access Points

Put in west of the bridge south of North Bend along Nebraska 79 either on the north or south side of the river. On the north side you can drive down a dirt road to the river's edge; on the south side you will have to walk a short distance to the water. From there to Hormel Park in Fremont it is 15 river miles (5-6 hours). Facilities at Hormel are primitive. From Hormel to Platte River Landing, south and near the Nebraska 64 bridge, east side of the river, is 9 river miles (3- 4 hours). Facilities include pit toilets, picnicking area and an access ramp. The city of Valley is 4 miles east on 64. From the Landing to Two Rivers State Recreation Area is 7.4 river miles (2.5 - 4 hours). There are modern restrooms and showers, caboose cabins and camping to name a few. From Two Rivers to Schramm SRA is 19 river miles (6.5 - 9.5 hours). There are restrooms, picnic area and an aquarium. From Schramm to Louisville SRA is 4.9 river miles (1.5 - 2.5 hours). It has modern and primitive camping facilities. From Louisville SRA to Plattsmouth Boat Dock is 19.75 river miles (6.5 - 9.75 hours). There are picnic facilities, boat ramp and parking facilities. Follow U.S. 34 through the city then take Dock Road where the highway turns south toward the bridge.

Scenery

The Platte River Valley from Fremont cuts through rolling hills consisting of glacial till mantled by loess. The hills have rounded ridge crests with moderate to steep slopes ending abruptly in the river. From Fremont to the I-80 bridge, riparian woodlands consisting of cotton-woods and willows; upland deciduous forests consisting of oak-hickory associa-tion are found on the ridge crests to Plattsmouth. Deer, fur-bearing mammals, foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks, waterfowl, shorebirds, amphibians, reptiles, and channel catfish in the river are found in the valley environs.

Services Available

Dialing 911 will reach emergency personnel in the area.


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