Registration is open for the Tyler Vanderheiden Memorial Run, an annual race aimed at raising awareness and understanding of mental health that also acts as a fundraiser for Nebraska Game and Parks state park trails.

The run is May 20, 2023, at Cody Park, 1899 US-83, North Platte. Participants may choose between a 2-mile or 5-mile distance and run in-person or virtually.

Register at or donate to the fundraiser at

This year, funds raised will help support the construction and upgrade of the Smith Falls State Park trail and walkway that leads to Nebraska’s highest waterfall. Improvements are aimed at replacing the aging wooden walkway with a more durable composite decking with steel framing. The new walkway will be Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

“The Game and Parks trail projects that our family has supported through Tyler’s memorial runs have been an instrumental part of our healing journey,” said Shannon Vanderheiden, Tyler’s mom and executive director of West Central District Health Department. “These projects allow others to more easily access the great outdoors, which our son loved so dearly.

“I am committed to continuing this journey, with the hopes of helping others who might be struggling. … You are not alone, you matter, you are wonderful and loved.”

Just like last year, race organizers have made it a goal to see runners from every Nebraska county and every state in the nation participate in-person or virtually in the race.

“My goal is to reach at least one more person than last year,” said Sydney Keller, Ty’s sister who helps organize the race. “I want Ty’s memorial run to continue to serve as a catalyst to de-stigmatizing mental health and suicide and to be part of someone’s journey to healing.”

“Ty’s life had purpose, and through this effort, it continues to have purpose.”

The race on Cody Park’s flat course begins at 8:30 a.m. Central time, with race-day registration and packet pickup from 7:30 to 8:15 a.m. at the park pavilion.

Those choosing to do the run virtually must register by 4 p.m. Central time May 19 and may complete their race anytime between May 19-21.

The run is organized by the Platte River Fitness Series with support by West Central District Health Department. Proceeds are donated to the Nebraska Game and Parks Foundation for the creation, maintenance or upgrade of trails at the 76 state park areas.

“The trails throughout our state park system are a critical part of a visitor’s outdoor experience, their connection to nature and their physical health and mental wellbeing,” said Jeff Fields, parks division administrator for Nebraska Game and Parks. “We are honored the Vanderheiden family chose us as a way to make a difference for all Nebraskans.”

To learn more about the trail project, visit

Two Rivers Trout Lake to open March 11; statewide stockings to follow

Another spring of trout fishing fun is on tap in Nebraska. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is scheduling the release of rainbow trout in waters across the state.

This will give anglers and families, especially at city ponds and lakes, additional angling opportunities for this popular species.

It starts March 11, opening day of the Trout Lake at Two Rivers State Recreation Area in Douglas County. All trout caught in this lake must be harvested and not released. Anglers first must purchase from the park office a daily trout tag for $6. Each tag is good for a daily bag limit of four trout. A person may have up to three tags per day and 12 trout in possession. An adult angler may have two children under the age of 16 fishing under the authority of his/her tag, but the group bag limit still is limited to four trout per tag.

The Trout Lake (Lake No. 5) will be open from 7 a.m. to sunset each day. Anglers, except residents younger than age 16, must have a Nebraska fishing license. All vehicles entering the park must have a park entry permit. Anglers possessing trout on any other lake at Two Rivers must have a trout tag, as well. Anglers will be allowed to use one fishing rod and reel each.

Adults might enjoy it, but trout fishing is a great way to introduce children to fishing, too, because simple and inexpensive equipment may be used.

“Rainbow trout are especially good for new anglers because they will bite readily on anything, including corn, wadded up pieces of bread or worms, and are easy and safe to handle,” said Larry Pape, aquatic education specialist with Game and Parks. “You can use a simple spin-cast combo or a spinning rod and have a fun day catching trout.”

For resources to help beginners or even experienced anglers, visit

The following is a schedule for the 88,000 rainbow trout set to be stocked this spring, including quantities. Dates can change because of weather or unforeseen circumstances and times, where listed, are tentative:

March 13

  • CenturyLink Lake, Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, Ashland, 2,500
  • Carney Pond, O’Neill, 750
  • Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area No. 2, Fremont, 4,000
  • Ponca SP Pond, Ponca, 750

March 14

  • Heartwell Park Lake, Hastings, 450
  • Suck’s Lake, Grand Island, 650
  • Lake Halleck, Papillion, 1,200
  • Weeping Water Pond 1, 1,500
  • Louisville SRA 1A, Louisville, 600
  • Windmill SRA No. 2, Gibbon, 600
  • Bethphage Pond, Axtell, 200

March 15

  • Terry’s Pit, Terrytown, 1,500
  • Riverside Park Pond, Scottsbluff, 900
  • Geneva Pond, 300
  • Fort Kearny SRA No. 6, Kearney, 1,200
  • Holdrege City Lake, 800
  • Ponca SP Pond, Ponca, 750

March 16

  • Auble Pond, Ord, 750
  • David City Park Pond West, 600

March 17

  • Oxford City Lake, 150
  • Victoria Springs SRA Lake, Anselmo, 1,200
  • Humboldt City Park Lake, 350
  • Pawnee City Pond, 300
  • Rotary Club Lake, Auburn, 800
  • Stanton Lake, Falls City, 200
  • Steinhart Park East Pond, Nebraska City, 800

March 18

  • Lake Helen, Gothenburg, 2,000 at 12:30 p.m.
  • Plum Creek Park Lake, Lexington, 750 at 2 p.m.
  • Holmes Lake, Lincoln, 4,000 at 1 p.m.
  • Ta-Ha-Zouka Park Lake, Norfolk, 1,500 at 9 a.m.
  • Pawnee Park West Lake, Columbus, 1,500 at 10 a.m.
  • Neligh Park Pond, West Point, 810 at 11 a.m.

March 22

  • Bridgeport SRA Middle Lake, 2,000
  • Bridgeport SRA Northwest Lake, 1,400

March 23

  • North Morrill Pond, 2,250
  • Middle Morrill Pond, 450

March 27

  • Rock Creek Lake, Parks, 1,500

Additional March stockings, as time and weather permit

  • Gracie Creek Pond, Burwell, 1,000
  • Elm Creek, Red Cloud, 500
  • Two Rivers SRA No. 5 (Trout Lake), Waterloo, 14,900
  • East Branch of Verdigre Creek, Royal, 1,000
  • Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area Sandpit, Royal, 75

April stockings, as time and weather permit

  • South Grable Pond, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford, 1,200
  • Middle Grable Pond, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford, 600
  • Gilbert-Baker WMA Pond, Harrison, 600
  • Bridgeport SRA Northwest Lake, 1,400
  • Chadron SP Pond, 500
  • Chadron City Reservoir North, 1,700
  • Chadron City Reservoir South, 1,700
  • North Morrill Pond, 2,250
  • Middle Morrill Pond, 450
  • Riverside Park Pond, Scottsbluff, 900
  • Terry’s Pit, Terrytown, 1,500
  • Lake Carter P. Johnson, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford, 2,500
  • Cherry Creek Diversion Pond, Fort Robinson SP, Crawford, 250
  • Arrowhead Meadows Golf Course Pond, Curtis, 150
  • Rock Creek Lake, Parks, 1,500
  • Two Rivers SRA Lake No. 5 (Trout Lake), Waterloo, 9,600
  • East Branch of Verdigre Creek, Royal, 800
  • Keller Park SRA No. 4, 250
  • Keller Park SRA No. 5, 400
  • Sand Springs, Plum Creek Valley WMA, 400

For information on fish stocking online, including upcoming trout stocking dates, visit

Box Butte SRA getting new campsites

Box Butte State Reservoir State Recreation Area soon will have capacity to accommodate more campers. Those campers even will have a new facility for cleaning up during their stay.

Workers soon will begin construction of an $840,000 addition at Box Butte that includes 20 new electrical campsites and the installation of a shower house and sewage dump station.

Mike Morava, regional park superintendent for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, said construction is scheduled to begin in March. He is hopeful the new sites will be ready for use as early as June.

“Camping continues to gain popularity, and this will be a great addition for our region,” Morava said.

The new amenities will be at the west side of the current campground, north and parallel to the existing paved road and sites 7-18. The addition is designed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Nebraska’s Capital Maintenance Fund, which was established by the Legislature in 2016 to help preserve public outdoor recreation facilities and parklands, is a large contributor to the project. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation also is funding it.

The expansion follows many other improvements at the recreation area in recent years, including a new boat ramp and dock, concrete outhouses and an upgraded fish-cleaning station.

Morava has been advocating for needed repairs to the SRA’s asphalt road; the project is on the list of candidates for funding by the Nebraska Department of Transportation’s Recreational Roads Program, and it is anticipated the project will begin in the next few years.

Box Butte Reservoir SRA and Wildlife Management Area, highlighted by the 1,600-acre lake, provide fishing, boating, hunting and picnicking opportunities 9 miles north of Hemingford.