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Rep. Titus helps secure funding for Lake Mead

Boating and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area are practically synonymous with one another. So when there’s talk about impacting that popular summer pastime, people get concerned.

Monday, Congresswoman Dina Titus and others gave a brief press conference just feet from the waters of Lake Mead to discuss $17 million in funding she helped secure to ensure that the boat ramps in the park remain open, in addition to other recreational opportunities.

As the fifth most visited national park in the nation, Lake Mead National Recreation Area has drawn more than seven million visitors a year since 2019 and an estimated 20% of visitors use the boat ramps.

However, since May of last year, all of the ramps except the one at Hemenway Harbor were closed due to receding water levels. As the water level continues to rise, all boat ramps are again open for use.

“You can see that’s something people enjoy and don’t want to lose,” Titus said. “When I heard about this and heard there was a problem, we got busy working with stakeholders including the chamber, environmentalists and other agencies to see if we could not have this occur.”

Those visiting Lake Mead helped pump an estimated $450 million into the Southern Nevada economy this past year.

The $17 million is coming by way of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, or SNPLMA. Through federal legislation, it’s allowed public land sales in Clark County to fund projects that benefit local communities, protect the water supply, and improve overall quality of life. Under SNPLMA, the Bureau of Land Management uses proceeds from land sales within a congressionally designated area in Clark County to fund conservation and public benefit projects across Nevada.

Interim Lake Mead Superintendent Mike Gauthier said funding, which includes SNPLMA, will help the park service plan for years to come.

“In the future, if the water does go down again, we’re prepared,” he said.

National Parks Conservation Association Senior Program Director Neal Desai also spoke and said, “Here in Southern Nevada, momentum is very strong to protect our public lands.”

Jill Lagan, CEO of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, said she was grateful for many things, including Mother Nature for this year’s snowpack and moisture, which has resulted in the lake levels rising over the spring and into the summer. She’s also grateful for Titus’ work in securing the funding.

“We (Boulder City) are grateful to be located at the front door of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area,” Lagan said. “The Park Service has done a multitude of wonderful things and studies that have helped provide us with very important data and statistics on the economical impact of national parks to local communities and immediate surrounding areas.”

Former Boulder City Councilman and avid lake user Mike Pacini said there were a lot of people who were concerned about any closures at Lake Mead.

“When you have something that someone is going to take away, like when you were a kid and someone was going to take away your toy, you’d be very upset,” he said, adding that he’s very happy that boating enthusiasts like himself and the thousands of other in Southern Nevada and Southern California can continue to do so. “I want to take a moment to thank her (Titus) on behalf of boating enthusiasts, businesses and residents.”

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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