Although Southern and Northern Nevada alike have seen lower than average precipitation in the last few years, many boating opportunities at Nevada's most famous, scenic and well-known waterways are as good as ever.
Lakes such as Lakes Mead, Mohave and Tahoe not only provide great boating opportunities all summer, they are also some of the most beautiful and famous waterways in America. Yet many local and regional boaters mistakenly believe "there's not enough water for boating."
"Even in the worst water conditions, Nevada has boating ramps that are always accessible, and in the late summer, many of them are underused, said David Pfiffner, Nevada's boating law administrator. "We'd like to see people get out and take advantage of these great recreation opportunities."
Lakes Mead and Mohave
Lakes Mead and Mohave are part of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. There are many marinas, boat liveries and other businesses open all summer long to cater to boaters, anglers and other water enthusiasts. Water levels on Lake Mead do fluctuate, but even in the most severe drought, the lake level is hundreds of feet deep in many places. The water levels at Lake Mohave fluctuate only slightly, so boating is as good there as it has ever been. In some areas of the Colorado River System are even seeing increases in water level of up to a foot a day.
"Some people think that boating is not quite as good on Lake Mead because of lower water levels, but even with current conditions, Lake Mead is still the largest man made reservoir in the United States," said Bruce Rowe, director of marine services for Forever Resorts, a company with marinas on both Lakes Mead and Mohave. "There is still a lot of quality recreation to be had out at the lake, but people just don't know it."
Lake Tahoe remains the gem of the Sierra with lots of recreation opportunities. Some boat ramps, such as the one at Sand Harbor State Park, do close later in the summer when water levels drop, but there are many more that stay open. Stand up paddling has exploded at Tahoe, bringing many more people into boating, and at the same time, this growing sport encourages fitness. The only concern is that paddle board users often misunderstand their role as boaters.
"We have seen phenomenal growth of stand up paddle boards at Tahoe, while the real challenge is that paddlers often don't consider themselves 'boaters'. We'd like to see paddlers take a boating education class so that they can learn that they've become a member of the wider boating community," said Mike McCusker, the game warden lieutenant in charge of Lake Tahoe. "All the same, we're encouraged by all the new users up at Tahoe."
Whatever type of boating a person likes, there are opportunities all over Nevada. A few years of drought isn't going to drain Lake Tahoe or Lake Mead, but the misconceptions otherwise are costing too many boaters a good time.