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Environmental Assessment to Evaluate Proposal for New Larger Parking Lot at Echo Bay Developed Area

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Date: September 25, 2006
Contact: Roxanne Dey, 702.293.8947

William K. Dickinson, Superintendent, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, announced the release of the environmental assessment to evaluate a proposal to construct a parking lot at the Echo Bay developed area, within Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The National Park Service is considering constructing a parking area within the Echo Bay developed area in the northern portion of the park.  The goal of the project is to provide a consolidated parking area for vehicles and trailers in close proximity to the existing launch ramp, to allow the Echo Bay developed area to function at its carrying capacity regardless of water elevation, and to eliminate impacts to soils and vegetation caused by visitors parking in undesignated areas.

During the last decade, the Echo Bay developed area has experienced an increase in visitation because of the recreational opportunities and facilities offered; and from overflow at adjacent, more crowded development zones on the lake.  The existing pull-through parking area is not in a convenient location to the launch ramp, does not provide enough parking spaces for the launch ramp to function at its carrying capacity, and occupies parking spaces that would be better utilized by the facilities in the immediate area.  During the peak season, late spring through summer, visitors are asked to park their vehicles, with trailers, approximately one mile or farther from the launch ramp in the existing pull-through parking area.  When this parking area reaches capacity, visitors must park their vehicles with trailers along the Echo Bay access road, damaging soils and vegetation and creating confusion.  Summer temperatures, usually exceeding 100 degrees, make it difficult and sometimes unbearable for visitors to retrieve their vehicles and trailers.  The distance, heat, and steep incline to the area where vehicles are parked could have detrimental effects to the health and safety of visitors.

The environmental assessment analyzes two action alternatives and the no-action alternative and their impacts on the human and natural environment, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) (40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1508.9) and NPS Director’s Order-12.

Copies of this document are available on the Lake Mead NRA website at www.nps.gov/lame/.  The document is available for public review at area libraries, and copies of the document may be requested by calling 702.293.8956.  Please forward comments regarding this environmental assessment by Nov. 2, 2006.  All review comments must be received by that date and should be addressed to:  Superintendent, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Attention: Compliance Office, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, Nevada 89005.

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