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Launch ramps to be affected by lower lake levels

Visitors to Lake Mead National Recreation Area are being advised that lower water levels expected during the next several years will impact water access points and boat launch areas.

To the extent possible, the Park Service will work to maintain boat launch access at Hemenway Harbor, Temple Bar, Callville Bay, Echo Bay and South Cove throughout the summer using pipe mats to temporarily extend launch ramps.

Hemenway Harbor and Temple Bar are anticipated to be the first boat launches impacted by declining water levels in May, followed by Echo Bay, Callville Bay and South Cove in July.

Temporary closures are planned as the Park Service installs and repositions the pipe mats.

Pipe mats are repurposed steel cooling pipes recycled from decommissioned coal-fired power plants. The are narrower than concrete ramps, can be slippery and are not a permanent solution to providing launch ramp access, according to the Park Service.

Due to the decreased width of the pipe mat launch ramps, visitors are encouraged to plan ahead as launching wait times are anticipated to be longer than normal. The Park Service is planning to construct concrete launch ramp extensions at some of these locations later this year.

Additionally, Boulder Harbor could become inaccessible in early July if lake levels fall enough to prevent vessels from exiting the area’s narrow passage into the lake.

Ongoing drought and water requirements for hydroelectric power creation, agriculture and other uses will create unpredictable water levels, impacts to launch ramps and muddy beaches for boaters and visitors throughout the summer and beyond. Water levels at Lake Mead have dropped by approximately 145 vertical feet in the past 20 years due to the ongoing drought, and several boat launch locations have closed.

Current projections indicate that launch ramps on Lake Mohave are not expected to be affected, according to the National Park Service.

Boaters should check the status of their intended launch destinations before heading to the lake. The latest information on boat launch and marina facilities can be found at https://www.nps.gov/lake/index.htm.

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