FAQs for RV camping during COVID-19
Nebraskans may begin enjoying recreational vehicle camping at select state park areas starting May 20.
We will offer limited RV camping at state parks and recreation areas where social distancing and group-size recommendations can be maintained to help ensure compliance with the state’s public health directives amid the COVID-19 health situation.
Parks remain open for day use including fishing. Current Game and Parks closures for cabins, lodge rooms, group shelters, undesignated campsites, and tent camping at state park areas and wildlife management areas will be extended through May 31, with a possible extension.
Read for the following FAQs for what you need to know about RV camping.
How long is the 10-person gathering size limit in effect?
The State of Nebraska recommendation is in effect through the month of May and could be extended if Gov. Pete Ricketts or health officials determine it is necessary to do so. A future extension could be statewide or for select areas of the state.
How will I be able to find updates on when parks and services gradually open?
Visit OutdoorNebraska.org or call the park where your reservation is held between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Which parks are going to have RV camping available, and how many spots will that be?
The listing of parks with limited camping and sites will be available May 17 on the agency website OutdoorNebraska.org or by logging into the agency reservation system.
Mormon Island State Recreation Area (SRA) near Grand Island and Danish Alps SRA near Hubbard will not offer camping, as they are near communities with high COVID-19 incidence. Park areas may be added to or deleted from the list as warranted and upon recommendations of health officials.
The listing of parks with limited camping is available below. Sites will be available for reservation on May 17 at 9 a.m. CT:
Branched Oak SRA
Eugene T. Mahoney SP
Fort Kearny SHP
Fort Robinson SP
Indian Cave SP
Johnson Lake SRA
Lake McConaughy SRA
Lake Minatare SRA
Lake Ogallala SRA
Lewis and Clark SRA
Medicine Creek Reservoir
Platte River SP
Rock Creek Station SHP
Two Rivers SRA
Victoria Springs SRA
Willow Creek SRA
Why can’t we camp if we stay 10-feet apart?
We determined that spacing of 10 feet in a campground is not adequate to prevent the potential for spread of COVID-19 virus.
Will NGPC control the physical distancing of the RVs by choosing which sites will be available?
Yes. The agency has determined that a 25-foot minimum must be maintained between designated campsites. Sites that do not meet that minimum standard will be closed and alternate sites identified to provide the desired spacing.
Will Game and Parks be policing campgrounds for social spacing and group size compliance by the public?
Yes. Game and Parks is committed to public safety and will monitor for public compliance to the recommendations that have been set forth by the Governor and health directives. Agency staff and conservation officers have already intervened in a number of situations around the state and will continue to do so. If that trend continues or escalates, or staff are placed at elevated risk of exposure, the agency will consider further limitations and closures of park areas. Our visitors can prevent that by simply complying with the recommendations.
When can I make a reservation to RV camp?
Our goal is to begin taking advance reservations beginning at 9 a.m. May 17 Central time. Guests can either go to the agency website OutdoorNebraska.org, contact the agency call center at 402-471-1414, or contact the specific park that the guest wishes to visit.
Why is a reservation limited to only seven days?
Because of the temporary reduction in the number of available campsites, the length of stay was reduced in order to provide more opportunity for other guests that desire to make camping reservations.
Why are you allowing only self-contained recreational vehicles?
To try to accommodate the demands to offer camping, this is the safest way to offer campsites and reduce the chance of spreading the virus. Similar approaches are being implemented by other states, Natural Resource Districts and federal agencies. Trade publications advise campers that one of the safest ways for them to camp in public parks is within a self-contained RV where they can use their own restroom and shower during the present COVID 19 pandemic. Disinfection of public showers and restrooms is difficult, and social spacing is not always possible.
Why can’t I just drive to the park and pick a site?
In order for our agency to protect our staff by minimizing personal contacts with the public, we require advance payment through the reservation system. This prevents the handling of cash and credit cards at the park site and also eliminates face-to-face conversations that often take place when guests are trying to find campsites in the absence of an advance reservation.
Why no tents with the RV?
The 25-foot minimum spacing does not leave adequate space for the installation of a tent between campsites. Also, the temporary closure of modern shower buildings and modern restrooms is being extended until further notice due to challenges with disinfection, leaving tent campers with no modern restroom options.
Will offices be open where RV camping will be allowed?
Park offices will remain temporarily closed and will open at a later date. Guests will need to make reservations in advance and pay in advance for their camping fees and park permits, which also should be purchased online. If a guest is unable to purchase a park permit in advance, a guest may purchase a daily permit at an iron ranger located at each park area, and affix the proper portion of the temporary permit to their windshield.
Will there be camping of any kind at Wildlife Management Areas?
No camping will be allowed at WMAs until further notice.
Can I still bring a dog when I’m RV camping?
Yes, as long as the pet remains attended to and leashed on a leash no longer that 6 feet in length, while at the park.
What is a designated beach area and swimming area?
Designated beach and swimming areas are typically identified by posted signs at the location. The areas also typically have floatation markers at the perimeter of the swim/wading zone to prevent watercraft from entering that area. Any other areas not designated are regulated by a General Park Regulation 001.20 that disallows swimming or wading outside of a designated area, and those areas may be posted with signs to close public access if the Commission deems that action to be necessary in the best interests of the public or resource.
Can I pull my boat or kayak up to a waterfront areas?
Yes, guests will still be able to bring their vessels to shore as long as it is not within a buoyed or closed area of the shoreline. Social distancing and group size limits must be maintained.
Can I swim?
No; all designated swim beaches are temporarily closed until further notice, and swimming is not allowed in any areas outside of designated swimming areas.
How many beach areas are affected?
All designated beach areas across the state will be affected, and all waterfront areas that are not presently designated will be monitored.
Can I still fish from the bank?
Yes, guests will still be able to fish from the shore as long as it is not within a buoyed or closed area of the shoreline. Social distancing and group size limits will still prevail.
What number do I call to get a refund for my reservation or reschedule?
Contact us by email through our Reservation Inquiry form or through our parks reservation line at 402-471-1414.
Will refunds or partial refunds be available for people who bought annual park permits but since they have been unable to camp, aren’t using their park permit?
We are not giving partial refunds for park permits as the park grounds have remained open, select campsites will be reopened, and the agency has been providing ongoing maintenance services of the park facilities.
Will my existing reservation be affected if it is scheduled for May 20th or after?
Existing camping reservations with arrival dates of May 20th or after will be honored, unless they are on a camp site that has been identified to be closed to meet social spacing requirements, or their camping vehicle cannot meet the current requirements for self-contained RVs. If your reservation has been affected by a closure, staff will be contacting you directly regarding a refund or transfer, if applicable. Guests are reminded that they must adhere to existing guidelines. Only self-contained recreational vehicles will be permitted, tents will not be allowed.