VALENTINE – Visitors to Smith Falls State Park will enjoy many improvements to the property this summer and will be able to reserve a campsite for them starting this week.
This is the first year Smith Falls campers can secure a spot through the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission reservation system.
Park ranger Amy Kucera said half of the park’s 70 campsites opened at 9 a.m. on Monday. She said a variety of locations would be available for reservations, including riverside locations on both the east and west campsites. The other half is available subject to availability. All websites are rated as “simple”.
Campsites can be reserved between three and 180 days in advance for an outdoor visit
nebraska.gov/reservations, anytime. Detailed information about the campsite is one of the functions of the online system that visitors can use to plan their stay.
Reservations can also be made Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. by calling 402-471-1414, except on public holidays.
Improvements to the park include a new $ 140,000 shower house funded by the Nebraska Outdoor Recreational Development Act. In addition, the park has got three new concrete latrines and a new deck around its headquarters.
The deck, which spans a boardwalk between the park’s campsite and its office, is made of composite material. The $ 60,000 project was funded by the Game and Parks Capital Maintenance Fund.
The multitude of visitors entering the park while swimming on the Niobrara River will enjoy improvements for greater comfort and safety at the very popular Smith Falls Landing and Nickols Landing on the east side of the park. These projects were completed in conjunction with the National Park Service and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota and Iowa. The latter organization has also volunteered in recent years to improve the park’s Jim MacAllister Nature Trail.
Smith Falls State Park, which provides access to the park’s 63-foot waterfall via a footbridge over the Niobrara River, is located just off Highway 12, about 12 miles northeast of Valentine. Nebraska Park Entry Permit is required for motorized vehicles entering the park.