Published Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 | 11:11 a.m.
Updated Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013 | 2:52 p.m.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area reopened today after a 16-day government shutdown that cost the park and its surrounding communities about $9 million and idled 170 employees.
“The entrance stations are open and visitors can now return to Lake Mead National Recreation Area to fish, boat, hike and enjoy all of the great recreational opportunities the nation’s fifth most visited unit of the National Park Service has to offer,” said Christie Vanover, park spokesperson.
Park employees were working to open all public facilities. Campgrounds, trails, launch ramps and the visitor center were open.
Concessions operators have recalled employees and reopened marinas, officials said.
Meanwhile, Red Rock National Conservation Area also reopened all public facilities. Its 13-mile scenic drive opened as it always has at 6 a.m., the visitor’s center opened at 8:30 a.m., the gift shop at 9:30 a.m., conservation area spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said. The campgrounds are also open to the public.
During the 16-day shutdown, Cannon said Red Rock suffered an estimated reduction of about 45,000 paid visitors.
All 401 units of the National Park Service closed Oct. 1 when the federal government was partially shut down because of a lapse of appropriations.
It is estimated that about 240,000 Lake Mead National Recreation Area visitors were impacted by the shutdown and that local gateway communities lost nearly $9 million in visitor spending, National Park Service officials said.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area lost an estimated $160,000 in revenue, officials said.
Lake Mead Cruises and Black Canyon/Willow Beach Adventures planned to resume cruises and raft tours on Friday, park officials said.
Services offered via commercial-use authorizations and special-event permits are allowed to resume operations within the park immediately. All special weekend events, including the Pumkinman Triathlon, will continue as scheduled, officials said.
“Boaters are already out on the waters and triathletes are getting in some last-minute training before this weekend’s event,” Vanover said. “It’s great to see visitors back out at Lake Mead National Recreation Area.”