History of Lake Mead

December 6, 2017 by Teddy Deleon

 lake mead

History of Lake Mead


Located about 25 miles from the Las Vegas Strip in Nevada, Lake Mead is well known for its sparkling water and great jetski opportunities. However, this lake was not always the bustling recreational boating facility that we know and love. Stationed off of the Colorado River, many people do not know that Lake Mead actually sits on the border of Nevada and Arizona. Additionally, Lake Mead is a reservoir for drinking water, providing crucial hydration to the states of Arizona, Nevada, and California. In fact, Lake Mead is the largest water reservoir in the United States, with the greatest water capacity of any other reservoir in the nation. Unfortunately, however, Lake Mead is only at 40% of its fullest water capacity as of 2017 due to drought, increased demand for water, and irresponsible water handling. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Lake Mead, keep reading!

The lake is named after a Mr. Elwood Mead, leader of the construction of the Boulder Canyon Project and its planning. The Boulder Canyon Project lasted a total of twelve years, beginning in 1924 and going to 1936, although the construction of Lake Mead itself did not begin until 1935, taking only a year to complete. This project created the famous Hoover Dam, which gives Lake Mead its shape and size, allowing it to accumulate water from melting snow and ice from the Rocky Mountains. In 1936, the National Parks Service designated Lake Mead the Boulder Dam Recreational Area at the end of this project, although Lake Mead became so popular that the name was later changed to the Lake Mead National Recreation Area in 1964, and some smaller lakes were added to this entity to accommodate the growing demand for water recreation such as jetskis, personal speed boat rentals, and other watercraft activity.

Fascinatingly, Lake Mead has some dark, mysterious, even morbid secrets that lie in its depths. In 1948, a military-grade Boeing B-29 Superfortress crashed into Lake Mead while performing a novel type of atmospheric research reconnaissance. Its remains have never been extracted. Thankfully, the five-person crew was rescued safely, but it is eerie to think that something has powerful as a military heavy bomber remain at the bottom of the lake. There are two more known aircrafts whose remains have not been extracted from the lake after similar accidents, but little information is known about them.

Soon after the advent of the modern jetski in 1970, many people were eager to get their hands on these fascinating machines as soon as possible. Jetski rental facilities cropped up in Lake Mead after obtaining the appropriate commercial licenses from the National Parks Services as well as the trademark manufacturers of the machines, since different brands and companies all began putting out their own similar machines in light of its sudden success. Boat rental facilities have become more popular in recent years due to the lack of commitment that attracts many people who just want to try something new rather than taking up a full-time habit.

Today, Lake Mead is an immensely successful recreational hub, with many activities available for people to take advantage during their leisure time. Not only are there plenty of jetskis and speed boats to rent, but there are many vacation homes both owned and rented by families from the Las Vegas area as well as from out of state. Lake Mead is an extremely popular vacation destination because of its proximity to the excitement of Las Vegas as well as offering a welcome reprieve from those neon-lit streets, giving you the opportunity to get more in touch with the beauty of the natural world, even that which was molded by human hands.

Lake Mead is more than just a boat rental facility, however. While renting a jetski is a great way to spend your day exploring the lake and all of its beautiful marinas and coves, the Lake Mead area is truly something of an oasis in a desert, with gorgeous hiking trails and campsites all around its shores. If you’re a local or even something of a long-term visitor, you should consider taking advantage of the multiple environmental education opportunities available for people of all ages and skill sets, including camp-age children. Not only can you learn skills in the areas of boating, jetskiing, and fishing, you can get more involved in environmental preservation of Lake Mead and its surrounding ecosystems.

If you have the time, we strongly encourage you to stop by Lake Mead with your family members or even by yourself if you’re in the mood for some quiet introspection by a beautiful scenic lake. Whether you’re camping, taking an environmental education class, fishing, hiking, renting a jetski or powerboat, or just vacationing by the lake for its convenient proximity to the Las Vegas Strip, you can be sure to find something to love about the Lake. Visit Lake Mead today!

History of Lake Mead was last modified: December 6th, 2017 by Teddy Deleon

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