Lake Mead Recreation Area is a beautiful and fascinating place to explore with houseboat rentals. But when you disembark for a day of land exploration, be sure to avoid the many abandoned mines in the area.
Why Are There Still Abandoned Mines?
The abandoned mines at Lake Mead could easily be back-filled, but many of them provide homes for native wildlife such as the 19 species of bats that inhabit this protected area. Some of these cave-adapted bats are threatened species and use the mines as safe places to live and to procreate.
Many of these mines are also historic. The Homestake Mine, for instance, is registered with the National Register of Historic Places because of the unique perspective it offers into the history of the Lake Mead area.
How to Recognize an Abandoned Mine
The abandoned mine lands at Lake Mead are marked by signs warning visitors away. You can also recognize some by the bat gates and cupolas installed over the entrances. These structures keep people and animals from falling or walking in while simultaneously allowing bats to come and go freely.
Some of the over 900 abandoned mines have had their entrances blasted shut or are completely fenced in. If you see signs or fences warning you away from an abandoned mine, pay attention and be cautious. Exceptions to this rule include mines, such as the Savage Mine in Eldorado Canyon, that are open for commercial tour.
The abandoned mines of the Lake Mead Recreation Area have distinct purposes. They may make for intriguing campfire stories, but don't be tempted to explore any that aren't open for tours.
At Forever Houseboats, we recommend you enjoy your Lake Mead vacation from the comfort of our houseboat rentals. Be aware the mines, their history and the ones open for exploration. If you do, you will be sure to enjoy what Lake Mead has to offer up. You won't be disappointed.