Frequently Asked Questions

What is Missouri National Recreational River?
It is a National Park unit though not in the traditional sense. The park consists of two relatively free flowing stretches of the Missouri River:

  • 59-mile reach that was designated in 1978, stretches from just below Gavins Point Dam to Ponca, Nebraska
  • 39-mile reach which was designated in 1991, stretches from below Fort Randall Dam to Running Water, South Dakota. This reach also includes the lower 20 miles of the Niobrara River and 8 miles of Verdigre Creek.

The park's land base is quite small with approximately 300 acres. Park staff work with a number of federal, state and local partners to manage these incredible stretches of North America's longest river.

Where can I camp?
Camping is a popular activity within the river corridor of Missouri National Recreational River especially during the warm seasons. Please visit our campgrounds page for suggestions.

Where can I rent a boat or canoe?
We suggest visiting the Nearby Communities and Tourism Info page for a listing of these watercraft rentals.

Where can I see bald eagles?
One of the best places is at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center at Gavins Point Dam. Depending on weather, eagles begin arriving early to mid-December and stay until mid to late-February. Another location is at the overlook below Fort Randall Dam at the western end of the Missouri National Recreational River corridor.

Can I use my South Dakota (Nebraska) fishing license on the Nebraska (South Dakota) side of the river?
Yes. The Missouri River, including Lewis and Clark Lake, is considered border waters and a person with a resident license from Nebranka or South Dakota may fish from boat or bank with hook and line. Length and possession limits follow whichever of the state regulations are more restrictive. For regulations regarding residents of other states with non-resident licenses, please visit the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center overlooking Gavins Point Dam. Their hours are 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Where can I obtain a Golden Age/Access Passport?
Both passes have been discontinued and replaced by the America the Beautiful -- The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass -- Senior Pass and Access Pass.

The $10 Senior Pass (62 and older) is a lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It is available only in-person at entrance or visitor centers. It is available at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center.

The Access Pass is available to citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. who have been determined to be blind or permanently disabled. It is available only in-person at entrance or visitor centers. It is not available at the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center.
All Golden Age and Golden Access Passports will remain valid until they expire or are lost or stolen.

The Center also sells the Interagency Annual Pass for $80. It is valid for 12 months from time of purchase. To learn more click on this link to our Fees page...

Where can I buy a South Dakota or Nebraska state park permit?
South Dakota permits are available online, at the Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, or by calling
605-773-3391 for more information.

For Nebraska permit please connect at, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, or by calling 402/388-4169 for more information.

Why are personal watercraft (jet skis) prohibited on park waters?
Missouri National Recreational River is both a unit of the National Park System (like Yellowstone NP and Gettysburg NMP) and a part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The National Park Service banned personal watercraft on the waters of the National Park System effective April 20, 2000. (More info) There are only a few exceptions to this nationwide ban.

Do you have a Junior Ranger program?
Yes, we do! Go to our Kids' Page for puzzles and links to our Junior Ranger program and other activities.

Where can I get my National Parks Passport book stamped?
You can get your book stamped at the National Park Service office located at 508 East 2nd Street in Yankton (8:00 am to 4:30pm Monday through Friday), at the Lewis & Clark Visitor Center, Niobrara and Ponca State Parks.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

508 East 2nd Street
Yankton, SD 57078


(605) 665-0209

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