The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved fee increases for its state park entry permits at its meeting last Friday in Valentine.

The fee for the annual permit for Nebraska-licensed vehicles will increase from $30 to $35 and a temporary (daily) permit from $6 to $7 beginning Jan. 1, 2024. That approval activated an increase in permit fees for vehicles licensed outside of Nebraska. Those annual permits increased from $60 to $70, with the daily permit increasing from $12 to $14.

The duplicate permit will go from $15 to $17.50 for Nebraska-licensed vehicles and $30 to $35 for vehicles licensed outside of Nebraska.

Of the 38 states that have resident annual state park entry permits, only six have fees lowers than Nebraska’s.

The commissioners also authorized one lottery and one auction permit for a 2024 bighorn sheep hunting season, which will be Dec. 3-22.

In other business, commissioners approved:

* a recommendation to apply for a 2023 Recreational Trails Program grant to enhance the entrance of the new walkway at Smith Falls State Park east of Valentine,
* permitting of hunting in some state parks and state historical parks for 2023 seasons; and Staff reported on the Dark Skies Project educational programs at Merritt Reservoir SRA, which has been certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.

Commissioners also heard updates on muskie research at Merritt Reservoir.