In case you were worried that Boulder City might fall off the map when Interstate 11 opens, you probably can breathe a little easier these days.
Plenty of folks are traveling to the southeastern part of the state. In fact, nearly 7.9 million people visited Lake Mead National Recreation area last year, making our little desert oasis the sixth most visited national park in the country.
Overall, the recreation area saw an approximate 10 percent increase in visitors last year, according to the National Park Service.
That’s definitely good news. But the even better news is that most of that increase was seen at the entrance stations closest to the Las Vegas Valley. In fact, nearly 2 million of those visitors got to the park by passing through town.
Not only is the recreation area attracting tourists, numerous residents are taking action to make sure the city stays in the forefront of people’s minds.
Through concerted efforts by the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, Economic Vitality Commission and participants in the chamber’s Think Tank, a variety of projects are in the works to ensure the town’s health once the city is bypassed by the interstate.
Of course, as the city that built Hoover Dam, the history of the area, highlighted by the walking tour through downtown, and the Boulder City-Hoover Dam Museum will remain top attractions. As will the many special events and festivals such as the upcoming Spring Jamboree, Best Dam Barbecue Challenge, Damboree and Art in the Park.
We also sit in the heart of a slew of outdoor activities. Tying into the many opportunities at the lake, we have hiking and bicycling trails, zip lines, helicopter tours, raft trips, golf courses and more practically at our fingertips. You could say we were a “hub” for outdoor adventures.
And that’s exactly what folks over at the chamber are thinking, too. They are working with the idea of creating an adventure hub in town, where visitors can learn about the many outdoor activities and book trips or make reservations.
Jill Rowland-Lagan, CEO of the chamber, said this hub also would serve as a central lounge where visitors from nearby Las Vegas could be brought by bus or shuttle and then picked up by the various companies that offer these outdoor adventures.
The companies could also join forces to offer a free bus to Boulder City from Las Vegas and Henderson that would drop people off at the hub. Rowland-Lagan said this concept also could include a shuttle or bus stop to take visitors to Hoover Dam.
Another project being worked on is changing the city’s ordinance that prohibits camping within the city limits, she said. Rowland-Lagan said there are many outdoor enthusiasts who come to the area for activities such as biking or kayaking who are used to sleeping in tents or in their cars.
Creating a small campground, whether public or private, could encourage more people to stay in the city and prevent them from heading further north or south after their adventure.
Along the same lines, work is being done to create a sign corridor along Interstate 11 with outdoor billboards that showcase the many things to do in and around Boulder City. Rowland-Lagan said there needs to be some type of message to drive traffic into the city.
The message itself is the topic for another group of volunteers who are striving to create a master marketing plan. Comprised of professionals with backgrounds in marketing, the group has created a mission statement and conducted a survey to see what type of slogans and image the community has outside of the city. Those responses are being combed through to fine tune the marketing plan and create templates for various types of ways to get the message out to the public about why people need to visit.
The prognosis for the city’s future health is good. No visit to the emergency room is needed at this time. Instead, the prescription is for each one of us to do something — no matter how big or small — to help tell the world about how special our community is. If we do that, there’s little doubt that Boulder City’s place on the map will remain firmly in place.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.