Reopened Elkhorn River access sites draw crowds seeking heat relief

Renewed access to metro waterways pulled like a magnet Saturday for people dealing with the ongoing heat wave plowing across the metro.

The Papio NRD opened two of the Elkhorn River’s access sites on Friday.

At the West Maple Road location, people who had seen their watersports put on hold by the spring flooding were back in the river with the start of the weekend.

People were out with tubes, kayaks and a need to beat the heat.

Kaylan Anderson and Drew Jindra told us they were glad access was restored. They picked the West Maple point of entry after “driving all over tarnation,” looking for a way to the water.

This access site, once again accessible, prompted a group of friends to pack up the essentials of “sandwiches, water, lifejackets, tubes, sunscreen.” and hit the water.

Heather and Wendell Hutchison decided to take advantage of hot day and take their new dog, Lambeau, for a swim.

Wendell said, “We try to come out every year, every weekend if we can. But with all of the rain and the disaster that was going on, it's been closed. We've been waiting for this moment. Word came yesterday that it was open so here we are."

Wendell said the water level always fluctuates but, “it looks good today."

It was a welcome sign after the flooding.

Lambeau needed a little convincing with a, “come on,” or two but eventually took the plunge and earned a, "That's a good boy. Good job."

The Graske Crossing access site is also open but the Elkhorn Crossing access point remains closed.

Life jackets aren't required but they are encouraged by the NRD.