Outdoor notes: Try these fall activities at Nebraska’s state parks
By Renae Blum
Fall is here, with limitless possibilities for outdoor fun. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the autumn season, look no further than Nebraska’s state parks, which are perfect for recreation of all kinds. Here are just a few opportunities they hold this time of year.
Fall is one of the best times of year to go fishing, when some of the biggest, fattest fish can be caught. Visit a Nebraska state park near you to take advantage of these opportunities. Also, rainbow trout will be stocked statewide this fall and winter, including at several state park areas; visit OutdoorNebraska.gov/fishstockingreports to see the stocking schedule.
Kayaking and canoeing
Kayaking and canoeing in fall can be a uniquely peaceful, enjoyable experience. Fewer people will be out, giving you more space on the water, and the fall scenery makes for a gorgeous backdrop. Pick a Nebraska state park lake and enjoy the splashes of color along the shoreline.
Enjoy Halloween fun
Many state parks have Halloween-themed events in October, including campground decorating contests, haunted hayrack rides, pumpkin-carving contests and trick-or-treating. Check our event calendar at Calendar.OutdoorNebraska.gov for events happening near you.
Wildlife viewing, bird watching and hiking
Enjoy some hiking, birdwatching and wildlife viewing on a trail at a state park. As you take in the fall color, keep your eyes peeled – you may encounter deer, turkey and various species of birds. Find a trail to explore at Outdoornebraska.gov/hikingtrails.
Fall can be a great time for camping, with cooler temperatures, fewer bugs and fewer crowds. Plus, camping fees at Nebraska state parks are reduced once water facilities are winterized starting at about mid-October. To stay a little warmer at night, book a Tentrr site; these ready-to-go camping sites come with propane heaters. Learn more at OutdoorNebraska.org/tentrr.
Fall is one of the best times of year to bring a horse to a state park and do some riding. Soak in the beauty of a state park on a trail, and camp overnight at an equestrian campground. Learn more at Outdoornebraska.gov/equestriantrails.
Picnicking and barbecuing
Enjoy friends and family and good food while taking in the scenery of a Nebraska state park. After your meal, enjoy the other activities a state park offers, from fishing and hiking to camping and wildlife watching.
Bring on the competition and get good exercise playing a round of Frisbee golf. Many parks offer this opportunity, including Branched Oak State Recreation Area, Indian Cave State Park and Chadron State Park; call ahead to check about the parks near you.
See fall color
Nebraska’s state parks are a fantastic place to take in the colors of fall. Indian Cave State Park and Ponca State Park are particularly known for their fall color, but you can view changing trees at just about every location.
For more information about Nebraska’s state parks and to buy a park entry permit, visit OutdoorNebraska.org.
Nebraska has abundant fur harvesting opportunities
Nebraska offers long seasons and abundant opportunities to harvest furbearers and coyotes throughout the state.
These animals are common in Nebraska, and most are found statewide. Regulated harvest of these mammals is an important management tool for controlling populations to reduce problems they can cause people and property.
Hunting and trapping seasons typically are designed to allow the harvest of furbearers during the fall and winter, when the pelts are prime, and the animals are less likely to have dependent young. This provides hunters an opportunity to earn extra income, play a role in the species management and enjoy time outdoors.
Nebraska has three furbearers that only may be trapped – muskrats, beavers and river otters. Raccoons and opossums have an early hunting-only season. Those two species, along with bobcats, badgers, mink, long-tailed weasels, red fox, gray fox and striped skunks, also have seasons where they may be hunted or trapped.
Hunting and trapping are permitted statewide, except where closed by federal, state or local laws or regulations. Hunters and trappers must get permission before hunting or trapping on private land that is not part of a public access program.
River otters have a season bag limit of one for each harvester and an overall limit of 125 for the season. For other furbearers, there is no bag limit for Nebraska residents. Nonresidents may harvest up to 1,000 furbearers, with a fee for each additional 100 furbearers taken over 1,000.
For residents ages 16 and older, a fur harvest permit and habitat stamp are required to hunt or trap furbearers in Nebraska; no permit is needed for residents to harvest coyotes. Nonresidents need a nonresident small game permit for coyotes and a nonresident fur harvest permit and habitat stamp to harvest furbearers.
Residents may buy fur harvest permits at OutdoorNebraska.gov, but nonresident permits only may be purchased at Game and Parks’ Lincoln office. Call 402-471-5457.
Find more information on furbearer hunting and trapping in the Nebraska Small Game and Waterfowl Guide. It is available wherever permits are sold or online at Outdoornebraska.gov/guides.
The 2022-2023 Nebraska furbearer seasons are:
Muskrat and beaver – Nov. 1, 2022-March 31, 2023
River otter – Nov. 1, 2022-Feb. 28, 2023, unless the limit of 125 is met earlier
Raccoon, Virginia opossum – Sept. 1, 2022-Oct. 31, 2022
Hunting and trapping
Badger, mink, long-tailed weasel, raccoon, Virginia opossum, red fox, gray fox – Nov. 1, 2022-Feb. 28, 2023
Bobcat – Dec. 1, 2022-Feb. 28, 2023
Striped skunk – year-round
Coyote – year-round
Tentrr announces new camping pass option for more than 200 locations
Tentrr, in partnership with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, has launched the Tentrr Pass (State Park Edition). This allows campers to buy an annual pass good for camping at Tentrr sites with no overnight fees for the year.
Tentrr’s passholders can stay at Tentrr sites in three Nebraska’s state parks while also having access to Tentrr’s 200-plus state park locations across the United States.
Tentrr offers camping sites at Nebraska’s Ponca State Park, Louisville State Recreation Area and Sherman Reservoir State Recreation Area. It plans to expand to other state park areas in Nebraska.
The Tentrr passes provide campers year-round access to preferred locations, a spacious canvas wall tent with a queen size bed, Adirondack chairs and a fire pit.
The Tentrr Pass is available in two options. The Tentrr Flex Pass offers full access, while the Weekday Pass is valid Monday through Thursday. Both passes have no blackout dates, can be used at Tentrr state park locations nationwide and are valid for the passholder and up to three guests at no additional cost.
“Tentrr is committed to making sure everyone can experience the outdoors by making camping easy, hassle free and economical,” said Todd King, Tentrr vice president of marketing. “The new Tentrr Camping Pass (State Park Edition) delivers on this commitment. Tentrr is in the unique position to connect state parks, providing ways to increase visitation while delivering value to Nebraskans through the Tentrr Pass.”
Tentrr, the leader in ready-to-go camping accommodations, has a limited-time pricing offer for Nebraska. The offer can be found at tentrr.com/tentrr-pass.
“The Tentrr Pass will provide a great opportunity for our park visitors,” said Jeff Fields, Game and Parks’ parks administrator. “Our partnership with Tentrr has provided an innovative and easy way for people to experience our great park areas.”
For more information on Tentrr, visit tentrr.com. To learn more about Nebraska’s state parks, visit Outdoornebraska.gov.