LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It’s been 13 years since the hotel at Echo Bay at Lake Mead closed its doors, but people continue to look for ways to access the lake from there. But Lake Mead has presented a new problem to the National Park Service (NPS) just as it was about to open a new boat launch area.

According to the NPS, it has been building out a “primitive dirt ramp launch” next to the old cement ramp at Echo Bay. It was scheduled to open today, Apr. 3. However, the NPS now says “park facilities crews have encountered water-saturated silt that can trap vehicles. For now, the area will be open to paddle craft only.”

Echo Bay primitive dirt launch ramp at Lake Mead. (Photo: NPS/Z. Johnson)

The official boat ramp at Echo Bay was closed in May 2022 because of low lake levels. In Aug. 2022 Lake Mead officials discovered an unapproved boat ramp and parking area at Echo Bay. This ramp was dismantled.

When 8 News Now asked about why the unapproved launch at Echo Bay was closed the NPS wrote:

  • 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. 
  • As clarified within the park’s 2019 Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), “The park’s 2005 general management plan amendment identifies that a new ramp would be constructed at South Cove one-half mile south of the existing ramp with parking to allow for continued launching. While slopes may lessen below 1,050 feet at the new location, launching would continue to be authorized at the end of a park-approved road.”