OUTDOOR BRIEFS

FREE COURSE

Introduction to fly-fishing class offered

The Nevada Department of Wildlife will be having a free Introduction to Fly Fishing Class on July 25-26. The class is taught in two parts, with the first at 6:30 p.m. July 25 at the NDOW Las Vegas office, 4747 Vegas Drive (near Decatur Boulevard). The second half will cover casting skills and will beat Floyd Lamb Park beginning at 8:30 a.m. July 26. Participants will learn basics skills such as knot-tying, terminology and equipment selection. Casting skills will give students the opportunity to put their newfound skills to practice on the water. Class size is limited, and registration is required. For more information and registration, contact Ivy Santee at 486-5127 ext. 3503.

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Nighttime navigation a tricky step for boaters

Navigating a boat on the water at night is a lot like walking to the kitchen in the dark, you know where it is and how to get there, but you can’t always see the toys and other hazards that have been left on the floor for you to step on as you make your way in the dark.

Lake Mead is constantly changing depending on the amount of water coming and going through the dams that regulate it.

“What was open and navigable water one week might now have new reefs that have emerged due to dropping lake levels, so you’ll need to take extra precautions at night,” said Lt. David Pfiffner, supervising game warden for the Nevada Department of Wildlife, the state’s safe boating agency.

Given that there were two nighttime boating accidents at Lake Mead within the past two weeks, and one of them fatal, Pfiffner said boaters need to become very familiar with the water on which they are operating before they take up nighttime operation.

Pfiffner, who has patrolled Lakes Mead and Mohave for more than 20 years, offered the following tips for nighttime navigation. First and foremost wear your life jacket, in the event something should happen a life jacket might save your life. It will do no good if it is stored below deck.

Always operate at slower speeds and be on sharp lookout for the lights of other vessels. Lights displayed by other vessels will help you determine whether they are operating under power or sail, and the direction in which they are traveling. Make sure your boat’s navigation lights are working properly and are not obstructed by any items.

It’s also a good idea to carry visual an audible distress signals, like flares and a whistle.

MOJAVE MAX

Popular tortoise dies of old age on June 30

A popular wildlife resident of Southern Nevada died on June 30. Mojave Max, a desert tortoise that served as the icon for local conservation efforts, resided at the Red Rock Canyon visitor center and helped to educate thousands of children and adults on desert ecology before his demise. The male tortoise apparently died of old age, with experts estimating his age at 65 years. Some desert tortoises can live up to 80 years or more.

Mojave Max came to the Red Rock Canyon visitor center in 1991, where people visited him at a special tortoise enclosure, which demonstrated typical tortoise habitat and interactions between several desert tortoises.

The Mojave Max education program was started by the Red Rock Interpretive Association in 2000. Schoolchildren who attend Mojave Max assemblies get to shake hands with the Mojave Max mascot, who makes visits to the schools.

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