The park was reserved on 1 July 2010 under the National Park Estate (Riverina Red Gum Reservations) Act 2010.
Before reservation Kemendok National Park was Mallee Cliffs State Forest, dedicated in 1922 for the purposes of timber production and other permitted uses including apiary and grazing. The Riverina Bioregion Regional Forest Assessment for River Red Gums and Woodland Forest, conducted by the Natural Resources Commission in 2009 (NRC 2009), recommended the area be managed for conservation and recreation.
Within New South Wales, land adjoining the park’s eastern, northern and southern boundaries is used primarily for cropping and grazing under Western Lands leases. Along its western edge, the park surrounds three freehold blocks that together form Culpra Station which is used for grazing. Kemendok National Park surrounds Kemendok Nature Reserve, which was reserved in 1988 and is guided by a separate plan of management (NPWS 2009).
There is also an 8190 hectare privately managed conservation reserve adjacent to the eastern boundary of the park.
Across the river in Victoria are Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Murray-Kulkyne Park, River Murray Reserve and Karadoc Nature Conservation Reserve. These reserves are managed by Parks Victoria.