LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – Lake Mead National Recreation Area welcomed nearly 7.9 million recreation visitors to the park in 2017, according to figure released by the National Park Service. It is the sixth most visited park in the entire National Park Service, moving up one spot from its 2016 ranking.
For the past two years, the National Park Service Find Your Park campaign has encouraged people to get out and discover America’s national parks, and they’re doing just that. Nationally, the park service welcomed more than 330 million visitors, making it the second most visited year on record.
“It’s so easy to ‘find your park’ from Vegas,” said Lizette Richardson, Superintendent, Lake Mead National Recreation Area. “Lake Mead National Recreation Area has so much access and diverse recreational opportunities,” Richardson said.
“We have done a lot of outreach in our gateway communities to promote the park and all the public lands in the Southern Nevada and Northern Arizona, especially with our nearby military and education partners,” she added.
Overall, visitation at Lake Mead National Recreation Area increased around 10 percent compared to 2016. Most of this increase was observed at the entrance stations closest to the Las Vegas Valley.
The Lake Mead District had 6.6 million visitors in 2017, compared to 5.8 million the year before. The Lake Mohave District had 1.5 million visitors, compared to 1.6 million visitors in 2016.
The boulder Basin continues to be the most visited area of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Around 1.9 million visitors accessed the park via U.S. Highway 93 in Boulder City in 2017, and 1.5 million accessed the park via Lake Mead Parkway near Lake Las Vegas.
On Lake Mohave, Katherine Landing remains the most visited area followed by Willow Beach and Cottonwood Cove.
More secluded locations like Temple Bar and South Cove near Meadview, Arizona, both saw around 20 percent more visitors with around 20,000 more people adventuring to each location.
“Along with increased visitation, there are increased needs to prioritize the park’s deferred maintenance backlog,” said Richardson. “This year, we have numerous multi-million dollar projects underway to modernize the visitor experience and improve public and employee safety, including a $3.4 million project to rehabilitate the Boulder Beach Campground,” said Richardson.
Over the next couple of years, visitors will also see new exhibits at the Lake Mead Visitor Center and improvements to the Willow Beach Road and the Cottonwood Cove flood control system. Behind the scenes, ongoing projects include advancements to communications infrastructure.
Since 1937, nearly 420 million people have visited the recreation area. The area has ranked among the top 10 most visited national park units since 1938. The last time the park welcomed 7.9 million people was in 2003.
“We welcome the visitors, and we want them to have an enjoyable visit,” said Richardson. “If you’re planning a visit to the park, remember to be safe by wearing a life jacket in the water and recognizing your recreation limits. Our rangers are here to help you map out the best experience for you, so you can find your park,” Richardson continued.
The complete list of park visitation and other visitor-related statistics are available on the National Park Service’s website at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/.