Missouri National Recreational River. Basic information for visitors to the Missouri Recreational River
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Missouri National Recreational River
From Niobrara, Nebraska to southeastern South Dakota, near Yankton, to northeastern Nebraska, near Ponca
The recreational waterway includes two reaches of the Missouri River, west and east of Lewis and Clark Lake along the Nebraska-South Dakota border, as well as 20 mi of the lower Niobrara River and 8 mi of its tributary, Verdigre Creek. The rivers represent the environment that existed when Lewis and Clark made their journey about 200 years ago. High chalk bluffs, stands of cottonwood, marshy areas, and wide plains dominate the area. Farming is practiced by landowners, and descendants of Czech, German, and Finnish immigrants maintain a rich cultural heritage. The park unit was authorized in 1978 and expanded in 1991.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Bird-watching, boating, canoeing (rentals Yankton, SD), fishing, hiking, horseback riding, swimming at state parks. Facilities: No National Park Service facilities. Army Corps of Engineers visitor centers at Fort Randall and Gavins Point dams; Nebraska state visitor centers at Niobrara and Ponca state parks. Programs & Events: Ranger-led interpretive programs (Memorial Day-Labor Day); Army Corps of Engineers, state parks, and local communities sponsor activities in summer. Tips & Hints: Most surrounding land is private; respect owners' property rights. Visit May-Oct. for best on-river activities, although July and Aug. can be very hot and windy. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded in Dec. and Jan.
FOOD, LODGING & SUPPLIES
Camping: None at site. In Niobrara: Niobrara State Park (89261 522nd Ave., tel. 402/857-3373; 106 sites; $6-$13; flush and pit toilets, showers, hook-ups). In Ponca: Ponca State Park (88090 Rte. 26 E, tel. 402/755-2284; 72 sites; $9-$13; flush toilets, showers, hook-ups).
Hotels: None in park. In Niobrara: Blue Moon Resort (89702 518 Ave., tel. 402/229-3226; 7 cabins; $50). In Yankton, SD: Best Western Kelly Inn (1607 U.S. 50, tel. 605/665-2906; 123 rooms; $79). X Restaurants: None in park. In Niobrara: Custer's Country Cafe & Drive-in (89141 Rte. 14, tel. 402/857-3544; $5-$7; no dinner Tues.). Groceries & Gear: None in park. In Pickstown, SD: Fort Randall Bait & Tackle (U.S. 281, tel. 605/487-7760). In Yankton, SD: EconoFood (2404 Broadway Ave., tel. 605/665-3081), Hy-Vee Food Store (2100 Broadway Ave., tel. 605/665-3412).
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Free. Facilities along corridor may charge fees. Nebraska or South Dakota state hunting and fishing licenses required. Landowner permission needed for hunting. No trespassing on private land. No rest rooms. Area open daily. Army Corps of Engineers Lewis and Clark Visitor Center open Memorial Day-Labor Day, Sun.-Thurs. 8-6, Fri.-Sat. 8 am-9 pm; Labor Day-Memorial Day, weekdays 8-4:30, weekends 10-6. Ponca State Park Visitor Center open Memorial Day-Labor Day, daily 8-8; Labor Day-Memorial Day, daily 8-5.
HOW TO GET THERE
Along the Missouri River east and west of Yankton, SD. Closest airport: Sioux City, SD (95 mi east of Niobrara).
Missouri National Recreational River (Box 591, O'Neill, NE 68763, tel. 402/667-2550 or 402/336-3970, fax 402/336-3981, www.nps.gov/mnrr). U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Box 710, Yankton, SD 57078, tel. 402/ 667-2545). Yankton Area Chamber of Commerce (218 W. 4th St., Box 588), Yankton, SD 57078, tel. 605/665-3636 or 800/888-1460,). Ponca State Park Visitor Center (tel. 402/755-2284).
Missouri National Recreational River. Basic information for visitors to the Missouri National Recreational River From Niobrara, Nebraska to southeastern South Dakota, near Yankton, to northeastern Nebraska, near Ponca