CARSON CITY — If you are planning on heading out to Lake Mead today for a pleasant afternoon of fishing and boating, check the news first.
The Lake Mead National Recreation Area, the Red Rock National Conservation Area and Great Basin National Park will be closed if the federal government cannot reach an agreement on its budget impasse.
Christie Vanover, spokeswoman for the recreation area, said there will be no access to the lake on roads except on U.S. Highway 93, no camping, no hiking, no boating, no marinas. About 60 people, mainly park security rangers and water treatment facility workers, will remain on duty, but 170 people will be furloughed. People now staying in campgrounds will have 48 hours to vacate.
Lake Mead averages 14,500 visitors a day and contributes about $500,000 a day to the regional economy.
JoLynn Worley, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees two-thirds of the state’s land, said only 36 of her agency’s 927 employees in Nevada will work under a government shutdown. Security people, workers who care for and feed captured wild horses and wild-land firefighters would remain on the job.
The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, west of Las Vegas, will be closed. U.S. Forest Service activities in Nevada will be reduced, but the agency will continue fire suppression work and security duties.
Worley said there has not been such a shutdown since 1995-96. That one lasted 28 days.
In a Monday afternoon speech, President Barack Obama said Social Security checks will be paid, citizens still can use Medicare, and the mail will be delivered. But national parks will close immediately.
Nevada’s only national park, Great Basin, near Baker, will close. Three workers there will remain on security and maintenance duty while 43 are furloughed.
Meanwhile, Hoover Dam will continue to welcome tourists, generate power and deliver water downstream, even with a shutdown.
Almost 400 U.S. Bureau of Reclamation employees in Boulder City and points south along the Colorado River will be furloughed, but Hoover and other facilities will keep running thanks to 72 “essential” personnel and another 260 workers whose salaries are paid by electric utility customers and ticket-buying tourists.
Spokesmen for both Nellis Air Force Base and the Fallon Naval Air Station said they are not sure yet how a shutdown will affect them. All military personnel will remain on duty, but many civilian employees will be furloughed. They could not say whether the lack of civilians will prevent them from carrying on day-to-day flying activities.
Military personnel will work and will receive pay because it was authorized by Congress. A resolution was approved Monday by both houses, and Obama signed it.
But Maj. Dennier Fourier of the Nevada National Guard said 530 of its full-time employees, who are considered technicians and are paid by the federal government, will be furloughed today unless a budget agreement is reached.
The guard has 4,500 members in Nevada. Fourier said that the technicians perform many required maintenance duties and their absence may prevent the guard from flying.
Employees of Grand Canyon National Park have been told to show up to work as scheduled today. If the federal government shuts down, they will have four hours to secure files and property.
Law enforcement, security and health officials will stay on the job to carry out the shutdown over four days.
Trails, campgrounds and hotels will be cleared, but park officials won’t be scouring the entire 1.2 million-acre park looking for people. Visitors already hiking or camping in the backcountry or taking rafting trips on the Colorado River will be able to complete their trips.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3900. Review-Journal reporter Henry Brean and The Associated Press contributed to this report.