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Valley County Partners Enhance Recreational River Access

 Several community partners have teamed up to capitalize on one of Valley County’s cherished natural resources – the North Loup River – to boost outdoor recreation and economic activity. 

The North Loup River Water Trail Project has been in the works for many months and the ultimate vision is multifaceted. Phase I of the project includes the development of a river access point at the Ord Veteran’s Grounds, public access land owned by the Ord VFW Post #7029 and American Legion Post #38. The property, which is free for the public to access during the outdoor recreation season from April 1 through October 1, is located along the river 1.5 miles north of Ord on 476th Ave. 

Phase II of the project includes the development of amenities at Anderson Island, property owned by the City of Ord off the Highway 70 bridge on the northeast edge of Ord. Improvements made to both sites will not only create ease of entry and exit from the river but also provide additional amenities for residents and visitors utilizing the river for recreation. 

Phase I of the project is underway at the Ord Veteran’s Grounds. A non-permanent floating dock is being installed which will create convenience and safety for kayakers to access the river. The North Loup River Public Power & Irrigation District is supporting Phase I by helping to develop a more defined parking space at the Veteran’s Grounds to accommodate vehicles accessing the space for river recreation. The Irrigation District is also supplying signage to clearly identify Anderson Island as the final exit point on the river trail. A double vault toilet will also be installed at the Ord Veteran’s Ground site and the Ord VFW and American Legion have plans for further improvements to the property including LED lighting and a storage shed that could also serve as preparation space for events hosted at the site. 

The initial phase of the project has been coordinated by a Task Force of representatives from the Ord VFW Post #7029 and American Legion Post #38, Valley County Economic Development, Valley County Tourism, Lower Loup Natural Resources District and North Loup River Public Power & Irrigation District. Community partners are continuing plans for Phase II of the project, specifically improvements to be made for the water trail exit point at Anderson Island. 

Forty seven percent of Phase I project costs have been secured through grants from Valley County Tourism and the Lower Loup Natural Resources District, 26% from Valley County Economic Development and 7% from in-kind contributions from the North Loup River Public Power & Irrigation District. An anonymous local entity has also committed 1:1 matching funds up to $4,000 to help cover Phase I expenses. The VFW and American Legion will be raising the remaining dollars needed for Phase I of the project in the coming weeks. 

Ground breaking for Phase 1. Community partners picture (left to right): Kristina Foth (Valley County Economic Development), Amos Lange (North Loup Irrigation District), Rick Myers (North Loup Irrigation District), John Smedra (Ord Veteran’s Group), Larry Masin (Ord Veteran’s Group), Phillip Hill (Lower Loup Natural Resources District) and Gerald John (Ord Veteran’s Group).

Through powerful partnerships among various community organizations, the goal of developing the North Loup River Water Trail is becoming a reality – one that will highlight one of Valley County’s natural resources, improve the quality of life for residents, enhance adventure opportunities for visitors and create economic impact for local businesses. 

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