LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The only remaining approved and National Park Service (NPS)-maintained boat launch will remain open and functional at least until spring of 2023.
According to the NPS the launch ramp at Hemenway Harbor will be extended to allow boating operations down to a water level of 1,037 feet above sea level. Lake Mead is at 1,044 feet as of 4 p.m. Tuesday. It did drop almost four feet further than this last spring before monsoon rain and decreased downstream demand helped it reverse some of those losses.
This outlook for the extension of the Hemenway Harbor boat launch matches the recent predictions from the NPS showing the lake dropping to 1,035 feet in April 2023. The NPS says it will be extending the launch ramp with concrete along with the current pipe matting.
This means there will be occasional closures through next spring for work on the ramp. The park’s social media accounts and the Launch Ramp Conditions page will be updated with the latest information.
What happens after the lake level drops below 1,037 is not known and the park service offered no hints.
Lake Mead is expected to continue losing water through 2023 and into 2024 with the furthest-out prediction being a drop to 1,013.7 feet (30.3 feet lower than today) by July 2024.
Lake Mead Boat Ramps
NPS rangers discovered an unapproved boat launch at Echo Bay. The NPS-maintained ramp there has been closed for some time.
On Aug. 16, it was discovered that heavy equipment was brought to the area and used to grade an undisturbed desert area in order to create the ramp, according to Lake Mead officials.
When asked why regular people cannot build and maintain a boat launch at Lake Mead the NPS said, “Federal Regulation Codes prohibit the private solicitation of any business or operational services in the park, except in accordance of a contract or written agreement with the Federal Government, which would automatically designate all operations as a commercial service contract. No launch ramps at the park are privately owned and managed, nor are there current or future plans to allow such activities.”
There is one approved but privately maintained boat launch at Lake Mead on the Arizona shoreline at South Cove. This is close to where the Colorado River exits the Grand Canyon and enters Lake Mead.