Entrance, user fees on rise at Lake Mead

New Year’s Day, along with the first couple of weeks that follow, long has been viewed as a time of change, and this year is no different. As 2010 gives way to 2011, change is coming for Southern Nevada’s anglers and boaters, and they’re going to feel at least part of that change in their pocketbooks.

Entrance and lake-use fees at Lake Mead National Recreation Area are going up. Beginning Jan. 15, visitors will pay entrance fees of $10 for vehicles and motorcycles, $16 for vessels and $5 if they are walking or riding bicycles into the recreation area. In 2010, those fees were $5, $10 and $3, respectively. The vehicle and vessel passes will be good for seven days rather than five; annual passes in these two categories will cost $30. Discounts for multiple annual passes no longer will be available.

However, there is still a chance to save a few dollars on your pass purchases. Buy your 2011 passes by Jan. 14, and you can do so at 2010 prices, and that includes the discounted rate for additional annual passes.

The director of the National Park Service approved the new fee structure after a public input process that opened April 2 and ended July 1. Ninety-eight people submitted written comments. Of those, the NPS described 28 comments as being clearly positive and another 28 clearly against the increases. The rest were somewhere in the middle.

With the increase, the recreation area’s total gross revenue is expected to increase from $3.3 million in 2010 to about $13 million by 2014. Eighty percent of those funds stay in Southern Nevada.

■ ID thieves targetING sportsmen — With the first decade of the new century all but behind us, one thing I have learned is some things never change. Oh, they might appear different on the outside, their packaging might change, but they are the same, nonetheless.

One of those unchanging things is identity theft, and outdoor enthusiasts are the latest target.

According to the National Wild Turkey Federation, some of its members recently have received fraudulent phone calls and letters asking for their personal information. These inquiries are made to look like official NWTF business. However, officials with the federation say they would not ask for the information being requested.

“If you receive any requests asking for personal information, such as your address, mother’s maiden name, checking account number or other financial information, please do not give it to them. The NWTF will never request this information via telephone,” the organization said in a statement. “This has all the markings of an identity theft scam.”

The NWTF, like so many other conservation organizations, will send invitations to local chapter banquets through the mail, but they will not ask questions that would grant them possible access to your financial accounts. With banquet invitations coming your way in the upcoming weeks, NWTF officials say, “You can rest assured that it is perfectly safe to order your banquet tickets via the mail.”

The NWTF asks that anyone receiving telephone calls in which the callers identify themselves as representatives of its organization and request personal information to contact the NWTF immediately by phone (800-843-6983) or via e-mail at info@nwtf.net.

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.

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