Lake Mead National Recreation Area seeks public input on new low water access plan

Published by The Bee News

November 14, 2022

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Public meetings to be held the week of December 5 

BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) will host a series of public meetings next month to explore management options on how to maintain launch ramp access for motorized recreational boaters to the lake and other visitor services amid record low water levels. The park will additionally meet with Tribes to gain their perspectives.

The concepts shared in these public scoping sessions are an initial component of the environmental analysis and review and will ultimately lead to selection of a preferred alternative, additional public comment, and management decisions in 2023.

“Already low water levels are decreasing at a more rapid rate than decades of projections indicated was likely. Climate change worsened drought requires us to think differently and plan for less predictable water levels into the future,” said Acting Superintendent Stan Austin. “The purpose of our Sustainable Low Water Access Plan is to develop a strategic direction for the future of motorized boat launching and related commercial services at five key access locations, along with facility and infrastructure needs and related implementation actions at these locations.”

The Sustainable Low Water Access Plan focuses on launch ramps at Hemenway Harbor, Callville Bay Marina, Echo Bay, Temple Bar Marina, and South Cove.

Public scoping meetings will include a presentation on a range of management alternatives for the public’s consideration and discussion. For detailed information about the management alternatives being considered, please read the project newsletter (

Meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Meadview, AZ – Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022; 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. MST at the Meadview Civic Association Building; 247 E. Meadview Blvd., Meadview, AZ 86444
  • Boulder City, NV – Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022; 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. PST at 100 Date Street, Building 100; Boulder City, NV 89005
  • Kingman, AZ – Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022; 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. MST at the Kingman Office of Tourism, Powerhouse Conference Room, 120 W. Andy Devine Ave., Kingman, AZ 86401
  • Virtual – Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022; 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. PST
Comments regarding the planning concepts should be made online on the park’s planning website ( where readers can find this and earlier planning efforts for review and consideration.
The need for action is prompted by rapidly declining water levels at Lake Mead. Because of a 23-year drought across the West, the lake has dropped about 100 feet since 2010. While the slope of the lakeshore varies, in many areas the 100-foot drop has meant the waterline has receded more than 1,000 feet, leaving boat ramps and other visitor facilities far from the water. To date, the NPS has spent nearly $50 million relocating and extending ramps and other infrastructure, but low water levels have caused new challenges.
This summer, the only operable launch ramp at Lake Mead NRA was at Hemenway Harbor. Two other launch ramps (Callville Bay and Echo Bay) closed in spring of 2022, earlier than originally anticipated based on the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (BOR) initial 2022 recreational boating season water level projections ( Other launch facilities closed earlier as water levels dropped. Boating access at Lake Mead in 2023 is not expected to change significantly from 2022 operations.
The water level in the Lake Mead reservoir is expected to continue dropping over the next two years, from about 1,042 feet (above sea level) today to about 1,014 feet in late 2024, according to BOR. Those projections depend on a number of highly variable factors, including rain, snowpack, and conservation measures throughout the Colorado River basin.
Lake Mead NRA is the fifth most-visited park in the National Park System, with about 7.6 million visitors. Throughout the 1.5 million acre park, visitors also hike, bike, camp, hunt, and use nonmotorized watercraft. About 20% of visitors use ramps or marinas at Lake Mead to partake in motorized recreational boating.

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