Shutdown affects some services at Lake Mohave
BOULDER CITY, Nev. — The first impact of the partial federal government shutdown arrived in the Tri-state over the weekend when National Parks Service personnel were pulled from Lake Mead National Recreation Area, including Lake Mohave.
Lake Mohave and most other points of interest within the Lake Mead National Recreation Area remain accessible to visitors; NPS-supported services, however, will not be performed during the shutdown that began Saturday morning over a federal budget impasse.
“There will be no National Park Service-provided visitor services at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, including public information, janitorial services, trash collection, and facilities and roads maintenance,” said a statement posted by the NPS on the Lake Mead NRA website. “Because of the federal government shutdown, NPS social media and websites are not being monitored or updated and may not reflect current conditions. All park programs have been canceled.”
Leah Townsend, president of the Lake Mohave Boat Owners Association, sent an email to LMBOA members and select media members, suggesting that most consessionaire-provided services would continue to operate, at least through the initial phases of the shutdown. That includes contracted concessionaires at Katherine Landing at Lake Mohave.
“I contacted Jeff Porter, GM of the Katherine Landing Recreation Company, and Cheryl Marsh of the National Parks Service in Boulder (City), Nevada, this morning,” she wrote on Friday, hours before the shutdown went into effect. “Jeff and Cheryl both advised me that concessions at the Landing would remain open and operating in the event of a shutdown. However, there would not be any NPS staff or rangers on site and all NPS offices would be closed.
“The entrance gates would not be staffed and they would be closes as well, but the pass lane would be open for entrance to the park.”
Townsend added that anyone using Lake Mohave during the shutdown should remember that emergency personnel will not be readily available.
“As always, enjoyr your time at the like,” Townsend wrote. “Just keep in mind we won’t have our rangers available to us in case of an emergency.”
The National Parks Service, through its official website (www.nps.gov), noted that some NPS-maintained sites may be closed, primarily for the safety of potential visitors and to protect federal property.
“During the federal government shutdown, this website will not be updated and may not reflect current conditions,” said a message on the website. “Some national parks may remain accessible to visitors; however, access may change without notice. Some parks are closed completely.”
The Center for Western Priorities encouraged the Interior Department to close all national parks for the duration of the shutdown.
“Secretary (Ryan) Zinke should not let one of his final acts be a short-sighted and irresponsible stunt to leave America’s national parks open but unstaffed,” said Jennifer Rokala, executive director of the CWP, a conservation policy and advocacy organization that weighs in on land and energy issues across the American West. “Zinke should have learned from the last time he did this, when people were able to walk into our parks and break laws intended to protect our national treasures. He has one last chance to do the right thing for America’s public lands — we hope he makes a good decision.”
Zinke, who has been under fire for a number of alleged ethics violations, is leaving the Trump administration next week.
Rokala cited what she considered three serious breaches of the national parks during the shutdown in January of this year: a poacher killed a pregnant elk in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah; snowmobilers riding in a restricted area near Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; and visitors armed with metal detectors and a drone scouring Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania in an apparent search for artifacts.
The NPS advised anyone with questions about services, lodging and access availability at any national park to contact the vendors and concessionaires directly, visit the website of the specific national park or go to www.doi.gov/shutdown.