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Missouri River Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park canceled

PONCA — The 2020 Missouri River Outdoor Expo at Ponca State Park has been cancelled due to the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 health situation and potential public health restrictions for the fall.

The expo, originally set for Sept. 19- 20, typically is a field trip destination for schools across the state, as well as a draw for families who love the outdoors. The event features hands-on activities, such as rock climbing, shooting, outdoor cooking and competitions, all of which provide limited opportunity to socially distance, restrict group size or appropriately disinfect between users to reduce the potential for spread of COVID-19.

“The Missouri River Outdoor Expo prides itself on introducing and reintroducing families to a wide variety of outdoor opportunities,” said Scott Oligmueller, Ponca State Park superintendent with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “We thank the thousands of expo guests for their understanding at this time, as well as their commitment to conservation and traditions of our outdoor heritage. We intend to bring back the event in 2021, a year that will mark the 100th anniversary of Nebraska State Parks.”

The decision to cancel the popular event was unanimously rendered by the Expo Advisory Board, which consists of Game and Parks representatives and numerous private sector representatives and volunteers.

For more information on state parks or the effects of COVID-19 on services or amenities, visit

In other news

McGREW — Wildlife managers in the Nebraska Panhandle say the full effects of the region’s wildfires during the final days of August largely will be determined by what Mother Nature does in coming weeks and months.

Keep your catch of fish as fresh as possible and you will be rewarded with a wonderful meal that is the finale to a fishing trip. In mid-October, trout will be stocked across Nebraska in small city park ponds and state park lakes.

Jesse Bilstein (from left), Bailey Legate, Layne Bussey, Chase Arduser and Led Henery show off the doves they harvested recently near Ewing.

Fall sports have been cancelled, postponed or will be highly regulated. Yes, there is no Husker football this season. Bars, restaurants and gatherings are being limited or restricted. Mask wearing mandates are in effect for various businesses and in the cities of Omaha and Lincoln.

September outdoor calendar

LINCOLN, Neb. – The following is a listing of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission events and important dates in September. Get more event details at

Sept. 1 – Hunting seasons open for cottontail, jackrabbit, dove, snipe, grouse, rail, raccoon and opossum

Sept. 1 – Archery, River Antlerless Private Land Only, Antlerless Only Season Choice, Statewide Whitetail Buck, Landowner, Gifford Point Wildlife Management Area and Youth deer hunting seasons open

Sept. 1 – Archery bull elk season opens

Sep. 1-7 – Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island

Sept. 3 – The Science of Animal Headgear, online webinar

Sept. 5-6 – Living history, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Fort Calhoun

Sept. 6 – Weigand Marina Parade of Lights, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Crofton

Sept. 5-13 – Early teal hunting in High Plains Zone

Sept. 5-20 – Early teal hunting in Low Plains Zone

Sept. 10 – The Science of Fossorial Animals, online webinar

Sept. 15 – Fall turkey hunting season opens

Sept. 17 – The Science of Dangerous Plants, online webinar

Sept. 19 – Muzzleloader antelope season opens

Sept. 21 – Firearm bull elk season opens

Sept. 24 – The Science of Invasive Species, online webinar

Sept. 26-27 – Youth waterfowl hunting season in Zones 2 and 4

Amid the COVID-19 health crisis, Game and Parks continues to work on opening and allowing additional activities and events that can be conducted safely with the protection of our customers and staff.

Keep up to date on all cancellations, postponements and closures for Game and Parks at