Big changes are on the way for Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, a 316,000-acre expanse near Las Vegas, Nev. Also known as Mount Charleston, the area will see improvements at several popular recreation sites thanks to the U.S. Forest Service.
Construction has already begun at the Cathedral Rock Picnic Area to completely renovate the site, resulting in 68 single unit picnic spots, 20 double units, and 2 group units, as well as gathering spaces, a new water system, and new toilet facilities. A new, larger trailhead parking area for the Cathedral Rock trail system will provide safer and more convenient access at its new location away from the main highway. The site, which is now closed. is expected to reopen in early 2014.
The Desert View Overlook project will renovate a popular stop along the Deer Creek Highway (NV 158). The existing facility will be improved with a new accessible parking area adjacent to the highway to allow for increased parking for passenger cars and large RVs or buses. Additionally, a new 1,100-foot-long pathway will be constructed to guide visitors to beautiful vistas of the valley 5,000 feet below and the mountains beyond.
Kyle Canyon Campground is also closed for renovations to the picnic area and is scheduled to reopen in 2013. Work is also planned on Lovell Canyon Road. The entire northern end of Lovell Road, beyond mile 6, will be closed for about a month beginning after Labor Day in September.
“We want to get the word out that these sites will be closed during construction,” said Genny Wilson, acting Spring Mountains National Recreation Area manager. “We have set up a hotline for visitors to call to avoid people making the long drive up to the mountain only to find their favorite picnicking spot closed. We know this is an inconvenience for many who want to escape the summer heat to the cooler mountain environment; unfortunately our construction season is limited to mostly the summer months.”
The Forest Service recently completed renovation of the Mary Jane Falls and Trail Canyon Trailhead parking areas near the town of Mt. Charleston.
“Both of these trails are very popular,” Wilson said. “We want to remind visitors that campfires are not allowed at these trailheads.”
Because of the extreme danger of forest fires, campfires are only allowed at picnic areas and campgrounds where a fee is charged; one exception is that a fee is not charged for Sawmill Day Use Area.
Old Mill and Foxtail Picnic Areas will be open through August. Fletcher View, Mahogany Grove, McWilliams and Dolomite campgrounds are also open through August. These fee sites are managed by campground hosts, who maintain the areas and monitor activity. For more information about construction activity or fire restrictions, call the Forest Service hotline at 866-388-7162 or visit www.gomtcharleston.com.