- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Children will soon be able to scale rock walls and splash around a floating playground at Nebraska state parks thanks to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s $35 million plan to create recreational parks along the Platte River.

The so-called venture parks aimed at younger visitors will be implemented at four sites along the river between Lincoln and Omaha, The Lincoln Journal Star reported (https://bit.ly/1QeckXu ).

The parks are slated to be located at the Louisville State Recreation Area, Mahoney State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Platte River State Park, but will be managed as a complex. Commission director Jim Douglas said the majority of the project will be funded through the Games and Parks Foundation, private donors and other organizations, with about 20 percent coming from park user fees.

Plans include a giant treehouse classroom on the side of a hill at Schramm with river access for kayaks and newly developed mountain bike trails, as well as a rope course, a natural rock wall, a floating playground with a water cycle and a toboggan run at the other sites. Douglas says the commission will also incorporate activities that relate to each park’s history.

Foundation board member John Gottschalk said the group agreed to spearhead the project in January and hopes to raise the necessary money within five years.

Douglas says the new attractions are expected to draw more visitors, increasing revenue and generating money to keep them running.

“This is a comprehensive plan for our entire park system that will engage future generations of park-goers, be financially self-sustaining, provide safety and accessibility, and empower people to explore, learn and play,” he said.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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