For the second summer in a row, staffing shortages are forcing the Game and Parks Commission to cut hours and services at a pair of its more popular state parks.
The Game and Parks Commission typically hires 900 summer workers across the state, but some parks have only found about half the needed staff — even after the commission raised the seasonal pay rate by more than 33%.
Among the biggest reductions: The Family Aquatic Center at Mahoney State Park will be closed Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from noon to 5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
At the nearby Platte River State Park, the Outdoor Heritage Education Complex will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but shooting stations available on those days may be limited due to staffing.
Also, expect to find reduced hours at their marinas, craft centers, activity centers and golf shack. Call the park offices in advance for more information.
“We appreciate everyone’s support and patience as we make the necessary changes to adapt to the current staffing challenges,” Parks Division Administrator Jeff Fields said in a news release. “We will do our best to still provide many excellent recreational opportunities that people expect in their parks.”
Still, there’s a chance the commission will have to make more cuts.
Last August, while operating at a 70% staffing level, the commission made sweeping reductions across the state after its seasonal workers started returning to school.
With a continued shortage of workers, that could happen again later this summer.
“We’ll have to wait and see,” Fields said.
He encouraged aspiring lifeguards, shooting range staff, housekeepers and concession workers to apply at outdoornebraska.gov/careers. Training and certification are available for new employees.