Las Vegas Sun

October 17, 2017

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Nevada’s state parks see flood of visitors amid shutdown

With national parks still closed as the federal government shutdown drags into the weekend, hordes of outdoor recreationists are flocking to some of Nevada's most popular state parks.

The surge of visitors has even prompted officials with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to bring in extra employees to accommodate larger crowds.

Nevada state parks

• Beaver Dam State Park

• Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park

• Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area

• Cathedral Gorge State Park

• Cave Lake State Park

• Dayton State Park

• Echo Canyon State Park

• Elgin Schoolhouse State Historic Site (closed to the public)

• Fort Churchill State Historic Park

• Kershaw-Ryan State Park

• Lahontan State Recreation Area

• Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

• Spooner Backcountry, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

• Cave Rock, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park

• Mormon Station State Historic Park

• Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Historic Park

• Rye Patch State Recreation Area

• South Fork State Recreation Area

• Spring Mountain Ranch State Park

• Spring Valley State Park

• Valley of Fire State Park

• Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park

• Washoe Lake State Park

• Wild Horse State Recreation Area

As of early Saturday, no campsites were available at Valley of Fire State Park, though it was open for day use. Campsites were unavailable at Cathedral Gorge and Spring Valley state parks from early Friday through early Saturday because of a spike in campers, but both have thinned out since.

The shutdown closed federally funded parks such as Lake Mead National Recreational Area and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, sending many people to Nevada’s 23 state parks. Hoover Dam, although a federal tourist attraction, remains open to the public because operation of the facility is not dependent on funds appropriated by Congress.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says it will welcome visitors at each park until its capacity is reached.

For updates on park availability, visit Links to each state park are available at

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