National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA Media Advisory
For Immediate Release: October 6, 2014
Release No.: 2014-79
Contact: 702-283-2344MEDIA ADVISORY: LAKE MEAD NATIONAL RECREATION AREA CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY OCT 8
50th Anniversary Art Show, Lecture, Oct 850 THINGS TO DO AT LAKE MEAD
Discover the park’s history through the lens and brush of Nevada artist and naturalist Sharon K. Schafer at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Lake Mead Visitor Center. This multimedia program of music, stories and images, explores the natural beauty of the region’s inspiring wildlands and provides viewers with a different perspective on the wilderness of Southern Nevada. Space is limited. Register by calling 702-293-8990.
Lake Mead 50th Anniversary Celebration, Oct 11
Commemorate Lake Mead’s 50th Anniversary at the Cottonwood Cove Eco Dive Oct. 11 by volunteering, exploring and celebrating. Volunteers will help beautify the marina area both on land and underwater from 9 a.m. to noon. Each volunteer will receive a T-shirt, free lunch and will be registered to win a variety of prizes. Visitors can also explore the informational booths and ranger vehicles and vessels from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Birthday cake will be served at 1 p.m. with a special presentation. Register online at http://www.getoutdoorsnevada.org/event-registration/.
With 1.5 million acres of land and water, there is plenty to do at Lake Mead. A list of 50 things to do is available online at http://www.nps.gov/lake/planyourvisit/fifty-things-to-do-at-lake-mead.htm and in the attached document.LAKE MEAD TRIVIA
Engage your readers/viewers by asking them Lake Mead trivia questions throughout the week. 50 trivia questions and answers are attached to this email.MEAD50TH VISITOR PHOTOS
We're asking visitors to help us celebrate our birthday by sharing photos of their visits to Lake Mead through social media using #mead50th. Select photos will be featured on the National Park Service website or social media pages.
The park’s 50th anniversary logo is attached and may be used in media products. Items with the logo are also for sale at the Lake Mead Visitor Center. PARK PHOTOS
High resolution photos of Lake Mead are available online at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lakemeadnra/sets/. Media are welcome to download these images and use them in their products.PARK BACKGROUND
Beneath the waters of America’s largest reservoir lies a collection of canyons that flanked the Colorado River as it cut its way to the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean. Lake Mead and the national recreation area exist because of the engineering feat aimed at taming the wild river – the construction of what is now known as the Hoover Dam.
June 22, 1936, Congress allocated $10,000 for a study of Boulder Dam’s recreational potential. The agencies outlined the project as a joint National Park Service and Bureau of Reclamation effort. Later in 1936, NPS and BOR formalized a memorandum of agreement that assigned maintenance responsibility for Boulder Dam and support facilities in Boulder City to the BOR, while NPS assumed responsibility for recreational areas on Lake Mead and along its shoreline. Boulder Dam National Recreation Area was the first federal recreation area of its kind and it represented the expansion of the National Park Service’s mission.
In 1937, when the lake elevation rose from 1,022 feet to 1,095 feet, a half a million people flocked to the area to see the engineering marvel and to enjoy the new water recreation opportunity in the desert southwest.
After WWII, Americans gained a new value for outdoor recreation and Lake Mead visitation tripled. In 1947, Boulder Dam returned to its original name Hoover Dam, and the recreation area became known as Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Efforts to redefine Lake Mead’s status began in the early 1950s when Senator Alan Bible and Representative C. Clifton Young led a drive to give NPS more control over recreation. For years, numerous bills trying to establish the park went before Congress, but they didn’t pass for various reasons.
Throughout this period, visitor services were added to Lake Mead and the newly formed Lake Mohave.
After years of political negotiations, Oct. 8, 1964, Public Law 88-639 established Lake Mead National Recreation Area under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service for public recreation, benefit and use in a manner that preserves, develops and enhances (as far as practicable) the recreation potential, in a manner that preserves the scenic, historic, scientific and other important features of the area.
Annual visitation at this point was around 3.5 million, and it continued to climb, consistently ranking among the National Park Service’s top 10 most visited parks. Lake Mead National Recreation Area became a park model for similar programs throughout the nation.
Today, the 1.5 million-acre park welcomes 6.5 million visitors each year. It’s a popular weekend destination for locals and Southern Utah and California residents, as well as Las Vegas tourists. Visitors spend around $260 million in local communities, which contributes to nearly 3,000 local jobs.
The park has six concession-operated marinas, three lodges and a boat cruise. It also supports around 125 small businesses that are authorized to provide visitor services in the park and 155 annual special events and film permits.
In addition to being a premier water recreation area, the park is known for its cultural and natural resources. Within its boundaries lie nearly 1,350 recorded archaeological sites, including the once flooded town of St. Thomas and sacred places for Native Americans. There are around 900 plant species and 500 animal species at Lake Mead, including 24 rare and threatened species. The park also has nine designated wilderness areas where visitors can recreate in natural solitude.