Jet Ski

Fun on Nebraska Waters

People in Nebraska love their outdoor water recreation. Miles of sandy beaches, rivers, lakes, camp grounds, wetlands, riparian forest, prairie trails, bicycling trails, clean air and spacious skies create a cornucopia of outdoor fun for families, couples and singles. They enjoy camping, bird watching, fishing, hunting, swimming, kite flying, boating, bicycling, hiking, water skiing, wind surfing, kayaking, canoeing and beach volleyball.

After the construction of Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation’s irrigation and hydro power project in 1935, people living on the arid prairie became aware of the marvelous recreational assets that water afforded them. Water released by Central from Lake McConaughy for irrigation or power generation passes 50 miles down the North Platte River to Central’s diversion dam, and then to Central’s Supply Canal, which runs 75.5 miles on the south side of the Platte River Valley. Along its passage, the Supply Canal forms 26 small lakes that offer recreation and fun for residents and tourists in every season.

Central by the Numbers
11Areas for recreational vehicles
450number of RV pads
Countlesssites suitable for primitive camping
26small lakes in the Central supply system available for public use
35,688surface acres of water stored in lakes and reservoirs on the Central Supply system
#2Lake McConahaughy is second most popular tourism site in Nebraska with Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha being #1
#3a survey by Budget Vacation magazine reports Lake McConahaughy as the third most recommended camping site in their article, “27 Perfect Places to Go Camping.”
180,000people visited Lake McConahaughy this 4th of July
3,000people visited eagle viewing sites in 2014
120eagles roosting below Kingsley Dam during winter of 2014 and equal numbers at the J2 hydro plant
11miles of hike/bike trail around Johnson Lake
300species of birds seen around Lake McConahaughy
10,000acres controlled by Platte River Recovery Implementation Program and made available for public use


Central’s canals, lakes and campgrounds are available for public use. RV camping grounds are managed by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission. Please see their web page for reservations.

For more information about Central’s recreation resources, please see their website.

Designated land along the Platte River can also be used for hunting, fishing, bird watching and mushroom hunting. The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program provides the public the opportunity to use selected portions of the 10,000 acres controlled by the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program during times when targeted species are not present. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission developed a website that allows the public to access and sign up for dates available on these pristine conservation sites located along the Platte River. Permission slips must be in hand to access land and enforcement is a priority.

-Kristi Urynowicz Boddy
-Kristi Urynowicz Boddy

“Sitting in our trailer right now on the sand at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska. 20 feet from the water. This may be the best camping locale ever!” —Kristi Urynowicz Boddy
(Courtesy vicki watkins/Flickr)

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