LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Doctors sometimes have skeletons in their offices, many people have skeletons in their closets (figuratively speaking), and now Lake Mead is revealing its own skeletons, on the shore.
Water levels at Lake Mead have fallen more than 20 feet since mid-February, and it has revealed many items once hidden deep underwater. Something no one thought would become a problem is scuba diving props — until recently.
Since then, people have been on the lookout for more morbid discoveries. And some people think they have found one.
For many years, local dive clubs and divers have been decorating the bottom of Lake Mead with props that were enjoyed by divers and used for dive training. Now, with the lake level dropping dramatically, some of those props are seeing the light of day.
In fact, it’s actually a concern for some park rangers who are being called out to remote areas to look at what someone thinks are real bones or skeletons.
This past weekend, rangers were called to an area near Callville Bay to check out what appeared to be vertebrae — backbones. The rangers said this wasn’t a waste of their time because these were real bones probably from a burro or bighorn sheep.
Park rangers said it is better to report any finds, but also encourage people to take a closer look at the item before calling.
If anyone finds what looks like old personal items, including what could be human bones, the National Park Service (NPS) said it’s important to remember that removing anything from National Park Service land is illegal. “If personal effects are found on the beach or the open water, visitors can leave these items at nearby ranger stations or can drop them off at entrance stations before they leave the park,” the NPS told 8 News Now. “Otherwise, if items are found within or part of a larger area for a sunken vessel, they should leave the items alone and call Lake Mead Dispatch (702-293-8998) for them to manage the area appropriately once on scene.”
The NPS also stated if someone is found to have removed something from National Park Service property they could find themselves in trouble with the law. “There are formal policies, including the NPS’s Code of Federal Regulations states in Title 36, under the Preservation of Natural, Cultural and Archeological Resources, that the taking of items from NPS lands along with the possession is a class B misdemeanor; all of which are punishable by a fine (up to $5,000) or other penalties. Additionally, collecting surface finds that are exposed, or not dug up is also a violation of the Archeological Resource Protection Act.”