Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Niobrara National Scenic River is increasing recreational access and opening the visitor center in Valentine, Nebraska. The National Park Service (NPS) is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Niobrara National Scenic River opened access to the visitor center in Valentine, Nebraska in May 23. Access to the Niobrara River continues to be accessible. You can set up canoeing or tubing trips through one of the outfitters locating on the park website www.nps.gov/niob. Although these are open, we do ask that visitors abide by guidelines to keep us all safe including:
Stay home if you’ve had a fever or cough in the last 14 days
No groups larger than 10
Stay with family groups
Keep social distancing of 6 feet apart
Don’t crowd launch areas
Make room for other people when on walkways
“Our park and outfitters are doing everything we can to make your experience on the river as safe as possible, but we need you to do your part to make it work. Together, we can create an enjoyable and safe experience for all,” stated Superintendent Steve Thede.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners continues to be paramount. At Niobrara National Scenic River, our operational approach will be to examine each facility function and service provided to ensure those operations comply with current public health guidance, and will be regularly monitored. We continue to work closely with the NPS Office of Public Health using CDC guidance to ensure public and workspaces are safe and clean for visitors, employees, partners, and volunteers.
While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow local area
health orders from the State of Nebraska and Cherry County Public Health, practice Leave No Trace principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.
For people who are still home schooling or not traveling at this time check out www.nps.gov/niob. Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted there as well as on social media channels. Updates about other NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus.