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Lake Mead remains fifth most visited national park

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is the fifth most visited park in the nation for the second year in a row with 7.6 million visitors in 2021.

“It’s wonderful to see so many Americans continuing to find solace and inspiration in these incredible places during the second year of the pandemic,” said National Park Service Director Chuck Sams in a press release. “We’re happy to see so many visitors returning to iconic parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, but there are hundreds more that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Whatever experience you’re looking for in 2022, national parks are here to discover.”

According to the public relations office for Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the park’s popularity is attributed to its recreation opportunities on the land, water and in the wilderness as well as “its close proximity to several large urban centers in the southwestern United States” that give visitors opportunities to see “dramatic scenery” and “diverse natural resources” that preserve the region’s history.

Its 2021 visitors accounted for 2.56 percent of the 297.1 million visitors to all the national parks in the country. Lake Mead was the sixth most visited national park from 2017-2019 and moved to the fifth spot in 2020 with more than 8 million visitors that year.

The 1.5-million-acre park located near Boulder City has 1,000 miles of shoreline, more than 700 miles of paved and backcountry roads, a 34-mile hiking and biking trail, seven campgrounds and launch ramp access for recreational boaters.

It also has the Mohave National Water Trail that was designated within the park in 2020. It begins at Eldorado Canyon, 13 miles south of Willow Beach, and continues south to the Laughlin bridge below Davis Dam, as well as the Black Canyon National Water Trail, which starts at the base of Hoover Dam and travels about 30 miles south to where the Mohave trail begins.

For the first time in its history, Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument in northern Las Vegas began reporting visitation numbers, with 11,953 visitors.

Nearby Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona ranked 13th for the year with 4.5 million visitors and Death Valley National Park in California saw 1.146 million visitors.

The Park Service noted that 44 parks broke visitation records in 2021.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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