PUBLIC COMMENT SOUGHT ON PROPOSED RECREATION FEE INCREASES FOR LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
Contact: Andrew Munoz, (702) 293-8691
Scroll to the bottom of the page for the proposed fee schedule.
LAS VEGAS – Lake Mead National Recreation Area is proposing a recreation fee increase that if approved could go into effect Jan. 1, 2011. The park faces budgetary challenges as it responds to record low lake levels and a growing backlog of visitor facility needs. This would be the first increase since the park began collecting fees in 2000. The public is invited to comment on the proposal through June 30.
"Lake Mead is a large lake that offers incredible recreational opportunities even with record low water levels. So we’re committed to maintaining quality facilities and lake access. We recognize these are difficult times; however without a fee increase we’ll be limited in our ability to extend launch ramps, build new ramps, relocate portable restrooms, and grade beaches and dirt roads necessary for lake access." said Superintendent Bill Dickinson.
On average it costs Lake Mead National Recreation Area $6 million every time the lake drops by 20-feet, the same height the lake is expected to drop by October. To date the park has spent about $36 million to respond to low water, much of it funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) and recreation fee dollars.
Due to lowering water a new launch ramp will be needed at Echo Bay later this year. At Callville Bay the existing launch ramp won’t be usable after June; however the park recently completed construction of a new $2.5 million ramp to ensure that boat launching can continue.
"We are in a predicament. SNPLMA has provided millions of dollars to cover these costs over the past 10 years. That well is drying up as SNPLMA land sales decrease. There just aren’t enough capital improvement funds to cover our costs." said Dickinson.
The park is proposing a phased increase for vehicle passes from $5 for five days to $10 for seven days beginning in 2011 and $15 beginning in 2014. The lake use fee is proposed to increase from $10 for five days to $16 for seven days. Vehicle and lake use passes would be valid for a full week instead of the current five days. Annual vehicle passes and lake use passes would increase from $20 to $30 each. Discounts for additional vehicles and vessels would be discontinued.
"We definitely encourage locals and frequent visitors to take advantage of the park annual passes. For a family with a vehicle and boat it would come out to about $5 a month to be an annual pass holder. We believe it’s an affordable option and still a great value," said Dickinson.
The proposed increases would not affect the Federal Interagency Annual Pass (National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass), Interagency Senior Pass, or Interagency Access Pass.
The park’s total gross revenues could increase from $3.6 million to $11.5 million with the fee increases and two new entrance stations at Cottonwood Cove and Temple Bar. Eighty percent of those funds stay in the park. The other twenty percent is used to fund programs and projects at national park sites that don’t charge a recreation fee.
Since 2000, fee dollars not only have funded launch ramp extensions around Lake Mead but also visitor information at entrance stations, the construction of the Princess Cove Road in the Katherine Landing area of Lake Mohave, the construction of park entrance and visitor information stations, additional crews to remove litter, floating bathrooms/pump-out stations, and navigation buoys and lights.
The fee increase would begin to bring Lake Mead National Recreation Area in line with fees charged at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and other similar National Park areas.
With 7.9 million visits last year, Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the 5th most visited park in the National Park System ahead of both Yosemite National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.
The National Park Service is interested in hearing from visitors about its proposed fee increases. Public comment will be accepted through June 30, 2010. Recreation fee dollars are most often allocated to initiatives and projects in response to visitor comments, so suggestions are also welcome.
Comments must be submitted in writing. They may be mailed or delivered in person to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, ATTN: Proposed Fee Increase, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005; or submitted via the Internet at http://parkplanning.nps.gov.
Following the comment period, the proposal will under go an internal agency review. A final decision on implementation isn’t expected from the director of the National Park Service until December.
Representatives from the park will be available during the public comment period to speak to interested groups and organizations. Please contact public affairs officer Andrew Muñoz at (702) 293-8691 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a speaker.
PROPOSED FEE SCHEDULE
Did You Know?
Long and narrow, Lake Mohave in Lake Mead National Recreation Area retains much of the feeling of the Colorado River. Between the confining walls of Black Canyon, Lake Mohave is not much wider than the Colorado River was when it flowed freely.