For those trying to escape isolation by enjoying the lakes and rivers near Southern Nevada during the Memorial Day weekend, officials are reminding people to follow common safety tips.
Rangers will be out at Lake Mead National Recreation Area looking for swimmers in distress or people violating boating rules against reckless driving or drinking, park spokeswoman Christie Vanover said.
Vanover said the park typically sees about 150,000 to 200,000 visitors during the Memorial Day weekend, but the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on the festivities.
“We’re not sure what it’s going to look like this year,” she said.
After a brief shutdown due to the pandemic, Lake Mead National Recreation Area reopened to annual pass-holders on May 2. On Friday, Vanover said that while the number of visitors peaked right after the reopening, visitation has been “steady” since.
People visiting Lake Mead’s beach areas are being asked to stay at least 10 feet from other groups and to not gather in groups larger than 10. Since the reopening, rangers haven’t had to hand out any citations for people not following social distancing guidelines, Vanover said.
“People have been really respectful,” she said.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the National Park Service is not allowing cash or credit transactions at entry stations, but passes are available online. The annual vehicle pass for the park is $45.
As of Friday, developed campgrounds remain closed due to the pandemic, according to the park’s website.
Other closures include the Alan Bible Visitor Center, all coves and roads in the Eldorado Area, all coves in the Government Wash area, all covers along Powerline Road near Cottonwood Cove, Saddle Cove, Nevada Telephone Cove, Goldstrike Canyon and Stewarts Point.
In the Arizona section of the park, White Rock Canyon and the Arizona Hot Spring are closed, along with the Liberty Bell Arch and Lone Palm trails, and Kingman Wash Road.
Campgrounds in Arizona are open at Temple Bar, Willow Beach and Katherine Landing, according to the park’s website.
Along with the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Vanover asked that people remember common summer safety tips, including wearing a life jacket, being aware of weather conditions and not drinking and boating.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona will be sending patrol officers out on boats along the Colorado River and Lake Havasu during the three-day weekend. The watercraft patrols will be from the Bullhead City limits, which is across the border from Laughlin, to the Parker Dam, located about 170 miles south of Las Vegas.
The deputies will be assisting boaters and looking for those violating the law, focusing on reckless boating, safety violations, and drinking while operating a boat, the sheriff’s office said.
If you’re planning on traveling farther into Arizona to Grand Canyon National Park, visitors can enter the South Rim from Friday to Monday from 4 a.m. to 10 a.m. Those inside after 10 a.m. can stay until sunset, according to the park’s website.
In Nevada, all state parks are open for day use, with the exception of the Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort. Some parks may have limited hours and capacity to promote social distancing, and visitor centers are closed, according to the state parks’ website.
As of Friday, the Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area, as well as nearby overlooks, trails, picnic areas and campsites, remained closed due to the pandemic, according to Red Rock’s website.