Opinions sought for development on Lake Mohave

Changes are on tap for Cottonwood Cove and Katherine Landing, two of the three developed areas at Lake Mohave. Then again, they might not be, and the decision as to whether changes will take place could depend on your opinion along with those of all the other recreationists who are willing to share their thoughts about what happens at these popular destinations.

The National Park Service has invited the public to comment on three preliminary alternatives to what it calls the Development Concept Plans for Cottonwood Cove and Katherine Landing. Included in the documents is the mandatory Environmental Impact Statement.

“Once approved, this document will provide overall guidance for the future redevelopment of these areas located on Lake Mohave for the next 20 to 25 years,” Park superintendent William Dickinson wrote in a letter to friends of the Lake Mead Recreation Area. “Needless to say, it is a very important document, and the National Park Service would benefit greatly from your careful analysis and thoughtful comments.”

Twenty-five years is a long time. So now is the time to share your thoughts and ideas.

Reviewing the proposed alternatives in great detail isn’t possible within the scope of this column, but perhaps a brief overview can be of help.

As a general rule, whenever a federal land-managing agency is considering changes in management or development plans, that agency will provide the public with three alternatives to consider. One of those alternatives is to take no action and leave things as they are. Another is to make limited changes, and the third is what the managing agency would like to see happen. That is labeled the preferred alternative.

This rule holds true in the case of Cottonwood Cove and Katherine Landing. According to the park service, “Under Alternative 1, no action would be taken. Existing facilities would be retained with minimal changes. Alternative 2 would implement previous planning proposals that separate day-use and marina facilities, maintain overnight facilities and provide flood mitigation. Alternative 3, the park’s preferred alternative, would enhance day-use opportunities, upgrade and expand overnight facilities and provide flood mitigation.”

For Cottonwood Cove, the only developed area on the Nevada side of Lake Mohave, Alternative 3 includes plans to enhance shoreline day-use areas by distributing users and improve existing picnic areas by adding shade structures and picnic tables. In addition, beach access and shoreline picnicking areas would be developed just to the south in Ski Cove in order to facilitate the shift of shoreline users from the heavy traffic areas in Cottonwood Cove.

Ski Cove would be designated as a no-boat area, and recreationists would be able to reach the new facilities by way of a new paved road spur. Alternative 3 also calls for improvements to campgrounds and the phasing out of existing long-term trailer sites.

Public input can be provided during three meetings scheduled for April 9 in Boulder City, April 10 in Bullhead City, Ariz., and April 11 in Searchlight, through the mail or electronically. Submit written comments to the Lake Mead superintendent, 601 Nevada Way, Boulder City, NV 89005 or go to http://parkplanning.nps.gov/lake and select Lake Mead Cottonwood Cove and Katherine Landing DCP/EIS. Meeting times can be found on the Lake Mead NRA website.

The planning document is 223 pages but will provide you with details needed to form your opinions. Dickinson doesn’t want you to “feel constrained to accept the alternatives as they currently are drafted. If you have suggestions for improving any of the alternatives, or if you believe a particular approach to an issue would fit better in a different alternative, do not hesitate to let us know.

“As always, thoughtful comments that explain the reasoning behind a suggestion are particularly helpful,” he wrote.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at intheoutdoorslv@gmail.com.