Millions Flocking To Lake Mead National Recreation Area This Year

Lake Mead National Recreation Area has been a popular destination this year, with visitation up more than 6 percent from 2012 levels. NPS photo.

Visitation to Lake Mead National Recreational Area has risen more than 6 percent this year, with nearly 3.4 million people having visited the NRA that sprawls over parts of Nevada and Arizona.

According to NRA officials, Lake Mead greeted 873,323 visitors in June, which pushed the total for the first half of 2013 to 3,376,492. In 2012, 780,351 people had visited the park in June, and 3,182,801 visited from January through June.

“The increase in visitation is great news for the recreation area,” said Christie Vanover, Lake Mead NRA public affairs officer. “Visitation was on the decline for the past couple of years, due in large part to the economy and lower lake levels.

“Boat sales are reportedly up and the public appreciates that despite the visual bathtub ring that circles Lake Mead, it is still the largest reservoir in the United States, making it the premier inland water recreation area in the West,” she added.

The most popular area of the park so far this year has been Katherine Landing on Lake Mohave near Laughlin, Nevada. Visitation there has reached almost 600,000, increasing 105 percent. On Lake Mead, Hemenway Harbor has been the most popular destination with more than 325,000 visitors, up slightly from 2012.

Boulder Harbor, Callville Bay and Willow Beach are other popular areas, each seeing more than 100,000 visitors so far this year.

Approximately 240,000 visitors spent their Fourth of July holiday weekend at the park, and around 225,000 enjoyed the park over Memorial Day weekend. In May and June alone, the park has seen a visitation increase of 11.47 percent compared to 2012.

“We hope this trend continues,” said Ms. Vanover. “We expect to see close to 1 million visitors in both July and August. After Labor Day, visitation will slow down, traditionally averaging close to 500,000 per month.”