In addition to environmental restoration and flood damage reduction benefits, the Lake Wanahoo/Sand Creek Watershed Project offers public recreation, including fishing, no-wake boating, tent and RV camping, hiking/biking, picnicking, and more. The Lake Wanahoo NRD Recreation Area first opened on April 28, 2012.
The area takes its name from Wanahoo Park, a popular recreation area that operated in the Wahoo area through the mid-1960s.
The 1,777-acre recreation area straddles the 662-acre Lake Wanahoo, with camping and boating access on the West side and a day use area on the East side of the lake.
Both the camping and day use areas provide excellent fishing access, with a total of seven fishing jetties. One jetty on each side has an attached handicapped pier.
Numerous habitat structures and shoreline protection features were designed into the lake to provide a high-quality fishery. The lake is stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, blue catfish, crappie, northern pike, and walleye.
Lake Wanahoo NRD Recreation Area offers hiking and biking trails around the lake and a bridge linking the East and West sides of the recreation area. Mowed trails on the East side of the lake provide access to undeveloped wildlife habitat areas.
Make a reservation at Lake Wanahoo
Camping & Boating
The camping area on the West side offers 74 camper pads, 54 tent camping sites and a shower house (on the southwest end of the RV area). All camper pads are equipped with electrical hookups and hard surfaced. All tent sites have fire rings and picnic tables. Lake Wanahoo Dump Station is available on the East side of the lake. To reserve a site, please visit ReserveAmerica.com
Pork Chop Island: pack-in, pack-out primitive camping is available on a secluded island at Lake Wanahoo. 5 primitive tent sites available. No electricity or facilities. Reservations can be made by calling the NRD at 402-443-4675.
The camping area also offers easy access to a large boat ramp that is wide enough to accommodate three boats at a time. Boating at the lake is no-wake only.
Day Use: The day use area on the East side of the lake is a great location for groups both big and small, with two large picnic shelters and two smaller ones, all offering scenic views of the lake.
Lake Wanahoo Primitive Cabins
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or wanting to experience camping for the first time, these primitive cabins are the perfect gateway to the outdoors!
Each 10′ by 12′ primitive cabins include:
• 30 amp power
• window air conditioner
• 3′ counter space
• 6′ by 10′ sleeping loft
• two single drop-down bunks
Fresh water is available at the nearby shower house. Bedding and mattresses are not provided. The cabins also include two 110-volt outlets inside.
To make reservations, please visit ReserveAmerica.com (Cabin Loop Sites 77-82)
Clint Johannes Education Building
The east side of the lake is home to our Clint Johannes Education Building which is available to reserve for area schools, education programs and is also open to the public for private event rentals. The building holds a maximum capacity of 120. Amenities include a kitchen area, restrooms, audio/video system, patio area, fire pit and more! The building is located at 1655 County Road 16, Wahoo, NE 68066.
To rent the building, please contact the Lower Platte North NRD office at 402-443-4675. Rentals can be reserved up to two years from today’s date.
The building is dedicated in honor of Clint Johannes, recognizing his 25 years of dedicated service and leadership while serving on the Lower Platte North NRD Board of Directors.
RULES & REGULATIONS
- Entrance to the park requires a Lake Wanahoo park permit from the Lower Platte North NRD.
- Permits can be purchased at the LPNNRD office (Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm), over the phone (402-443-4675), online (here), at the park kiosks, or at Wahoo Corner Market (1142 N. Chestnut St., Wahoo, NE 68066)
- Permit prices: Day Pass $5. Annual permit for LPNNRD residents (see map): $15. Annual permit for non-LPNNRD residents: $25. Duplicate permits can be purchased at the LPNNRD office (Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm)
- Vehicles should stay on the hard surfaces, as seeded grass has not become established.
- RV and tent camping sites can be reserved here. Camping fees are:
- Gravel pads (with electricity) – $20/night
- Tent sites – $8/night
- Boating is no-wake with a 5 mph speed limit. The boat ramp can accommodate up to three boats at a time.
- Catch and release is required for all northern pike.
- All largemouth bass less than 21 inches in length must be released.
- No live bait fish allowed.
- All other Nebraska state park regulations apply.
A public archery range is available on the West side of Lake Wanahoo. The project is sponsored by the Big Game Conservation Group. Targets are 10-40 yards. A spot is designated for archers to bring their own target at 50-100 yards. No broadheads or crossbows allowed. Additional information is posted at the range, or by calling the LPNNRD at 402-443-4675.
PATH mentored youth hunting
Limited hunting opportunities will continue to be available at Lake Wanahoo through the popular PATH Program, where adults can schedule a time to mentor a youth hunter at designated hunting sites north of the recreation area. Get more details here
The Lake Wanahoo NRD Recreation Area does not allow general hunting, but youth hunters and their mentors can utilize part of the recreation area through the PATH (Passing Along the Heritage) program sponsored by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
Portions of the Lake Wanahoo grounds are open to participants in the PATH program, which allows reserved access to private land for Nebraska youth hunters and their mentors. PATH lands are chosen to provide youth hunters with a safe environment where they have plenty of opportunities to succeed. By granting private access to good hunting ground, PATH removes a lot of the obstacles to providing a beginning hunter with an engaging experience and encourages the passing along of hunting heritage to the next generation.
Only the youth is allowed to hunt in the PATH program; the mentor is there only to help guide and provide a good experience for the child. Mentors must be over the age of 18.
If you have a youth hunter you’d like to mentor through PATH, visit the PATH website to get started. There you can register for the program, apply for your permission slip, and (once approved) search through the PATH database to locate available land and reserve dates for your hunt. You can have up to three reservations for PATH hunts; they can all be for the same site on different dates, or for different sites in the program.
PATH, which began in 2006, is a partnership between the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the National Sports Shooting Foundation and Nebraska landowners who generously allow access to their land.
Remembering the Past:
The History of Wanahoo Park
Remembering the Past:
The History of Wanahoo Park
The Lake Wanahoo project draws its name from Wanahoo Park, a dance hall and recreation area that operated near Wahoo through the early and middle decades of the 20th century.
The park was a popular gathering place for area residents, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. The main attraction was an ornate dance hall on the man-made “Dance Island.” The moat surrounding the island was formed by diverting water from nearby Sand Creek with a water wheel. The park also featured a huge swimming pool.
Unfortunately, the park suffered a series of mishaps over the years, including repeated flooding and at least one fire that razed the dance hall. By the early 1960s, the park was suffering from declining attendance and deteriorating facilities. The final blow came in the form of a large flood in 1963. With the moat and swimming pool filled in by flood-borne silt, Wanahoo Park became a relic of the past.
In the years since the park’s closing, most landmarks have been removed or destroyed. Virtually the only signs of the old park that haven’t been erased by time are the crumbling remains of the swimming pool foundation, and a dark ring visible in aerial photos where the moat was located. However, despite being gone for more than 50 years, Wanahoo Park still evokes fond memories for many long-time residents of the area.