LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a popular destination in southern Nevada. Now that it has reopened, hundreds flocked to its shoreline this weekend to enjoy it.
The National Park Service is working servicewide with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.
During the first phase of the park reopenings only annual pass holders have access to the lake's recreational facilities.
One of the top spots for visitors is Boulder Beach. Most people there were following social distancing rules, thanks in part, to a constant patrol of park rangers.
Groups that arrived on Sunday put up their tents, sprawled out their blankets and enjoyed the view from their beach chairs.
Jesus Reyes arrived around 7:30 am and said the area was mostly empty, giving him a good amount of time before the crowds came.
By noon it was a different scenario with at least 500 people having fun both on the beach and in the water.
Jazz Lewis visited with her family and said they rarely have time to get together and they wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.
“First of all, the kids are going crazy just being home and I’m pretty sure we all needed a break. There’s only so much you can do inside”, said Lewis.
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She also noticed how people were separating from other groups, following the 6 feet rule. Park rangers played a big part in this.
On several occasions throughout the afternoon rangers approached large groups and told them to spread out, whether they came together or not. A few of the groups didn’t follow the rules right away.
Rangers also made sure tents were separated a considerable distance from one another.
“It is definitely a new normal that we have now. Some people are supportive of it, some people don’t care and just want to recreate. But it is really important that if you come to Lake Mead, we need you to social distance. It’s up to you to if this place stays open, if you follow the rules. We want to keep it open for everybody to come out here”, said Christie Vanover, Lake Mead Public Information Officer.
Annual pass holders are also encouraged to practice good hygiene and be respectful of others at all times while at Lake Mead.
“On top of all CDC guidelines, don’t forget the safety guidelines of the park, wear your life jacket when youth are swimming, bring lots of water out here. There’s a lot to think about when you come to the lake but if you check off all those boxes you can have a good time”, reassured Vanover.
If larger crowds arrive, they may have to restrict access to this beach.
Starting next Monday, they will be grading the beach to give visitors a larger space where they can be safe and enjoy their time.
For more information and any updates on park operations, go to their website NPS.gov.