Local businesses launch campaign to save access to Lake Mead

Published: Dec. 14, 2022 at 10:59 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Local businesses around Lake Mead have launched an aggressive campaign to save lake access, raise awareness of the issues and lobby lawmakers for funding.

The webpage “Save Lake Mead” describes the challenges facing the National Park Service with the shrinking water levels and current funding, and information about public hearings and ways to contact NPS and Nevada lawmakers. According to a National Park Service newsletter in November, one option NPS could pursue includes shutting down access to all Southern Nevada boat ramps.

The website and campaign helped propel interest from thousands, leading to an overflowing Boulder City public hearing in early December.

“The worst case scenario: Armageddon. They’ll shut it down altogether. The more I’ve learned talking to the park service... they want to hear what people really want,” said Bruce Nelson of Las Vegas Boat Harbor, whose grandparents founded the business in 1957.

Nelson said, in his conversations with NPS and various other officials, there is hope that Congressional intervention and funding will save Lake Mead access.

“They can’t ask for funding; there are rules in the federal government. The public needs to get out and say, ‘Hey, we love this place. They need to spend some money out here,’” Nelson said, who has been in contact with Nevada’s Congressional delegation and describes senators’ offices as very responsive.

Senator Jacky Rosen sent this statement to FOX5:

“Small businesses around Lake Mead rely on tourism every boating season, and closing these boat ramps is hurting them and Nevadans’ ability to enjoy our beautiful lake. That is why I sent a letter to the National Park Service in August calling on them to find a solution, and I’m glad to see they held public hearings to get input from Nevadans about a solution. My team and I will continue working on policies that will protect Lake Mead and combat the Western drought while also engaging with NPS and fighting for Nevada’s outdoor recreation businesses.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s team sent this statement:

“Senator Cortez Masto personally negotiated and secured $4 billion in funding to combat drought in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. She’s called on the Department of the Interior to take stronger federal action to ensure all states are contributing to water conservation along the Colorado River and implementing the comprehensive conservation actions as Nevada has done and continues to do. She also secured $450 million in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support large-scale recycling projects that will help protect Nevada’s water supply. All of these efforts will help keep water in Lake Mead and ensure Nevadans can continue to access the lake for recreation. The Senator has been in close conversation with a wide variety of Southern Nevada stakeholders on these issues, and she will continue to work to combat drought and protect Lake Mead.”

NPS will make a decision regarding Lake Mead in the Spring and Summer of 2023.