FREMONT – The Fremont Lakes SRA has been closed “indefinitely” since flooding began around March 14th. Many people have wondered how long that closure would last.
Jeff Fields, Regional Park Superintendent for our area with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, said today that the Fremont Lakes SRA should be reopened – though possibly only partially – by May. Parks staff spent last week surveying the damage, and work began on roads and the general grounds this week. The damage caused by the flooding was extensive, so construction work will have to be equally so. “Right now, our goal is to have the area back open by May 1st. I feel confident we’ll be able to achieve that goal […] if we have good weather,” said Fields.
The SRA’s campsites are still in fairly good shape. Some areas at the Pathfinder campground were under water for a long period of time, and those specific sites will have to undergo inspections before being released for public reservation or occupation. The connecting road from Victory Lake to the Pathfinder campground was destroyed, however; the Game & Parks commission is currently mapping an alternate entrance to that campground.
For the most part, the dump stations and restrooms are also in good condition. “Those faired pretty well, too,” said Fields. “We had a few that were under water. We’ll get those cleaned out, pumped out, that’s not going to be a major issue.”
The major concern right now is water quality at Lake 20, one of the most popular swimming lake at the SRA. “Of all the lakes, that probably took the biggest hit,” Fields explained. The fisheries division and DEQ are currently assessing and testing the water and grounds around Lake 20 – a full water report has not yet been completed.
Fishing will be impacted this year, as “rough” fish from the river were washed into the lake ecosystems, and there’s no telling how many or where.
Field says the biggest help people can offer the Fremont Lakes SRA today is to stay out of the area while construction is completed, and once the park is reopened, obey all signs and barriers in place.