Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010 | 1:55 a.m.
Faced with declining reservation and visitor numbers, the hotel and the restaurant at Echo Bay Resort in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area have closed.
The closure went into effect Sept. 1. Forever Resorts, the operator, also canceled any pending reservations at the hotel.
National Park Service spokesman Andrew Munoz said the park service is working with Forever Resorts to reopen the restaurant and hotel for the 2011 summer season. In the meantime, the RV park and marina nearby will continue to accommodate visitors, he said.
Echo Bay is at the northern end of Lake Mead, near Overton.
Overnight stays in a room or cabin at Echo Bay have plummeted more than 60 percent compared to last year, according to park service records. From January to July 2009, 2,900 stays were recorded. Through July this year, the area saw fewer than 1,200 stays.
The park service is assessing how to move forward at Echo Bay as the recession has taken its toll on the resort’s business, Munoz said.
“Services within the park have taken a hit,” he said.
Overall, visitation to the Lake Mead area has dipped only slightly – year-to-date, numbers are down about 3 percent. Munoz said that although there hasn’t been a dramatic decrease in visits to the park, guests have been less inclined to spend the extra money to stay overnight in a hotel.
Darla Cook, marketing director for Forever Resorts, said frequent road construction in the area also has affected visitor numbers. Forever Resorts, which took over the resort from the original owner in February, has a three-year temporary contract with the park service.
Munoz said the park service is actively seeking a permanent tenant for the space.