Recreation Area FAQs

Recreation Area FAQs

Where can I camp?

Camping is permitted at all five of the recreation areas managed by the Upper Big Blue NRD from April to November, but each location offers something a little different. Only two of our recreation areas (Bruce L. Anderson and Pioneer Trails) offer RV hookups, however you are allowed to park an RV and camp at any of our rec areas.

Are there RV spots available?

Since we are a first-come, first-served camping facility with no advance reservations, we can't guarantee there is a campsite available. 

How much does it cost to camp?

Only Bruce L. Anderson and Pioneer Trails recreation areas have a cost associated with camping. The cost is $5 for tent camping/night and $15 for RV camping/night. Payment is made on-site at the parks at a kiosk near the campground entrance and by the tent camping area. The other recreation areas offer free camping.

Day use of all of our recreation areas is free.

Can I reserve an RV spot?

No. We don't offer any reservations for camping at our recreation areas. They are strictly first come, first served. Paying for an RV spot doesn't guarantee use of that spot unless you park your vehicle on it immediately.

Are there RV hookups?

There are RV hookups at Bruce L. Anderson and Pioneer Trails Recreation Areas only (20, 30, & 50 amps available at each RV site). Bruce L. Anderson has a dump station on-site near the park entrance and Pioneer Trails has a dump station nearby at Streeter Park in Aurora. At both parks with RV camping, there is a shared water source (you must bring a long hose) but not individual water hookups at the RV pads.

Are there shower facilities?

No. None of our recreation areas offer shower facilities.

How long can I stay?

All of our campgrounds have a 14-day maximum stay in any 30-day period for RVs and tent camping.

How/where do I pay for camping?

At Pioneer Trails and Bruce L. Anderson Rec Areas, you can pay by cash or check at the kiosk at the campgrounds. Credit card payment is not available. The rental period begins with the day of registration. All fees must be paid in full at the time of registration. You'll complete a registration form, put your payment with it in an envelope, and deposit them into a dropbox. The tear-off receipt will be your camping permit, which must be displayed on the individually numbered post at the campsite you'll occupy so as to be readily visible for inspection. Camping permits are non-transferable. Additional days may be purchased at the end of your stay if you are within the 14-day time limit.

What else is there to do besides camping?

Each recreation area offers a variety of activities from swimming to hiking to fishing. Some have picnic tables/shelters and playgrounds. Explore the individual rec area pages for a full list of what is available at each location.

Can I go boating?

Boating and canoeing are permitted with the limitation of a five (5) m.p.h. speed limit. For your safety and the integrity of the structure, boats, canoes and other flotation devices are restricted from entering the spillway area. 

Which recreation area offers the best fishing?

Oxbow Trail in Ulysses tends to have the best fishing of all of our recreation areas. Many people also enjoy fishing at Pioneer Trails near Aurora. 

Is alcohol allowed?

Consumption of alcoholic beverages on recreation area lands owned or controlled by the district is permitted with the following exceptions:

  • Consumption is prohibited on all roadways, parking areas, designated swimming areas, Youth Camping Areas and the archery range. 
  • Consumption of alcohol may be prohibited on any park or recreation area or portions thereof with the use of appropriate signage.
  • Consumption is prohibited between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 
  • Containers of alcoholic beverages whose single liquid capacity is greater than one gallon are prohibited.
  • Presence in a recreation area when under the influence of alcohol, or drugs, to a degree that may endanger oneself or another person or property or may cause unreasonable interference with another person’s enjoyment of a recreation area, is prohibited. 
  • Alcohol is permitted in your RV or tent campsite.

See the full regulations listing for more details.

Who do I call if I see something suspicious going on?

If you see vandalism or another illicit activity taking place, please call the sheriff's department immediately. 

  • York: (402) 362-4927
  • Aurora: (402) 694-6936
  • Utica: (402) 643-2359
  • Ulysses: (402) 643-2359
  • Hampton: (402) 694-6936

Are NRD rec areas pet friendly?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your pets to the recreation areas as long as they stay on a leash or in a crate/cage at all times. 

In park areas where hunting is permitted, the use of hunting dogs is allowed, provided the area is open to hunting and the dogs' owner or handler accompany and have control of such dogs and are responsible for the actions of such dogs. 

Horseback riding and the use of pack animals is permitted only on roadways and designated trails. 

See full rules and regulations concerning dogs, cats, and other livestock here.

What about fireworks?

The use of fireworks is not permitted at our recreation areas.

When does the camping season begin/end?

The camping season generally runs from mid-April through late October, depending on the weather. We will announce the specific dates in spring and fall.