Saturday offers special reason to get outdoors

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tick, tock, tick, tock ...

That's the sound of springtime slipping by and summer approaching.

We've mowed the lawn a few times, most of the garden is in, and Memorial Day is fast approaching.

Truly, it's time to get outdoors and enjoy nature while we can. It should be especially pleasant this year because of the cold, snowy winter we've just endured.

With state track, the Wayne Boyer Memorial at Kiplinger Arena, Community Hospital's health fair on Saturday, and tonight's McCook Midget Baseball Association opening ceremonies -- the weekend is filling up quickly.

But between the garage sale-ing and other activities, we'd like to suggest taking advantage of an event that won't be repeated this summer.

It's the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission Free Fishing and Park Entry Day, Saturday only.

With the price of gasoline, it's nice to know there are great fishing, boating and camping opportunities throughout the Golden Plains, whether it's Harry Strunk Lake, Hugh Butler Lake, Swanson Reservoir or Enders Lake.

Pick the one closest to you, drive right in (ignoring the Park Entry Permits Required signs for Saturday only!) and drop your baited hook in the water, no license required.

It's a great chance for Dad and the kids to enjoy some low-cost time together in the outdoors, or for Grandpa to pass along his fishing skills to the grandchildren, at little expense.

As the Game & Parks Web site suggests, "enjoy a picnic lunch grilled over an open fire ... spend the afternoon watching a bobber float by the water's edge, or sit barefoot under a tree and enjoy the beautiful views. Take advantage of the great fishing and recreational opportunities at Nebraska's state park and recreation areas."

But note, although fishing permits and park entry permits are waived for the day, all other regulations are enforced, such as size and bag limits.

And, there may even be some great fishing opportunities even closer than that. In March, the Game & Parks Commission stocked a thousand rainbow trout in Barnett Park -- although we wonder how many of them are still there, thanks to the recent flooding.

Still, the state is betting -- and we're inclined to agree -- that you'll enjoy your outdoor experience so much Saturday that you'll go ahead and purchase a park entry permit and fishing license to keep it going for the rest of the year.

For more information, and to purchase park entry and fishing permits, go to http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us

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