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Recreation area trails to reopen Sept. 12

The Goldstrike Canyon and Arizona Hot Spring trails, which temporarily closed Aug. 1 because of numerous incidents during the summer’s high temperatures, will reopen Sept. 12.

The trails were closed because public safety incidents in these canyons doubled from 2013 to 2014. In 2013, there were 17 incidents, which resulted in one fatality, 31 patients and five medical transports. In the first seven months of 2014, there were 37 incidents, resulting in three fatalities, 35 patients and 13 medical transports.

The National Park Service closure, scheduled to end Aug. 31, was extended through Sept. 11 because of several factors, such as weather and employee and visitor safety. The Bureau of Reclamation closure was scheduled to end Sept. 14. It will end early.

The area known as White Rock Canyon has multiple trails leading to Arizona Hot Spring, Liberty Bell Arch and the Colorado River. Goldstrike Canyon leads to Goldstrike and Nevada hot springs and the Colorado River.

The trails at both locations are strenuous and technical. There is no shade or water and there is limited cellphone service. Hiking Goldstrike involves scrambling and climbing slippery boulders. On the Arizona Hot Spring trails, most of the hike is in a wash. Walking through the soft gravel is similar to the challenge of walking along a beach. On both hikes, the return to the trail head is uphill, which can be challenging to new hikers after a long day and a soak in the springs.

No matter the time of year, hikers should follow these safety tips:

Bring a gallon of water per person; bring salty foods; wear boots or hiking shoes; wear a hat and sunscreen; hike with a buddy; and tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Additionally, hikers should be aware that it’s easier to be rescued near the water than in the middle of the canyon.

During the closure, the hot springs remain open and accessible from the Colorado River. The River Mountains Loop and Historic Railroad trails are also open.

Park Service seeks comments on lead removal plans

The National Park Service is seeking public comment on an engineering evaluation/cost analysis report for four former firing ranges within Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The report addresses the effects and possible removal of the lead at two sites in Clark County, and two sites in Mohave County, Ariz. The sites are at Echo Bay, Las Vegas Bay, Temple Bar and Willow Beach.

Under alternative 1, no action would be taken. Alternative 2 involves excavation, on-site disposal, capping and institutional controls. Alternative 3 involves excavation, mechanical soil washing, chemical stabilization and soil replacement. Alternative 4 involves excavation and off-site disposal with optional chemical stabilization.

The full report is available for review online at http://bit.ly/1tXQ09G1. Comments may be submitted via the website. Written comments should be mailed to Superintendent, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005. Comments must be received by Sept. 30.

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