With the approach of spring break and warmer weather, Clark County, police and officials from other agencies are reminding students and their parents of ongoing efforts to protect Clark County Wetlands Park and prevent vandalism, under-age drinking and other illegal activities from occurring there and in desert areas throughout the Las Vegas Valley.
In 2016, Clark County launched a cooperative effort with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Clark County Park Police and other agencies to crack down on vandalism, graffiti, trash, the illegal discharge of firearms, off-road vehicles and other issues occurring at Clark County Wetlands Park and nearby desert areas. The problem activities tend to occur on weekend nights during the spring and summer when school is out and youth are looking for areas to host unauthorized parties and bonfires. The interagency effort has reduced crime in and near the park, but officials are reminding the public that the trouble still tends to increase throughout the community with the onset of spring break.
"Together, we have had a lot of success in addressing the problem activity that was occurring after hours and on weekends at Clark County Wetlands Park, the Sunrise Trailhead and other nearby areas, and we plan to keep up the good work," said Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom, whose Commission District E includes Clark County Wetlands Park. "We want to protect the park so it can be enjoyed for the treasure that it is, and we also want to encourage the public to help us keep our community and their children safe by knowing where your kids are after hours."
Commissioner Segerblom and other elected officials representing neighborhoods near Clark County Wetlands Park, including Clark County School District Board of Trustees Vice President Linda Cavazos, Nevada State Senator James Ohrenschall and Nevada Assemblywoman Susana Martinez, sent a joint letter to area school principals asking them to remind parents of the inter-agency efforts to keep the park clean and safe and local curfew laws.
"We want all students to enjoy themselves in a fun and safe manner during this much deserved time away from the classroom," said Trustee Cavazos. "We look forward to welcoming all students back from the break for a great ending to the school year. We encourage parents to talk with their children about the importance of having a safe, productive spring break."
Curfew for youth under age 18 is 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on weekends and non-school days. A violation of curfew can result in a citation, arrest, fines and detainment until a parent or guardian can be contacted. Clark County's public service announcement called, "The Party's Over," has been shared with
local media and on County YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media sites to spread the word to youth on social media about the crackdown. Metro and Park Police regularly do sweeps in and near Clark County Wetlands Park, and police are on the lookout for troublesome parties throughout the community.
"Thanks to support from the public and multiple agencies, we will continue to aggressively patrol desert areas inside and surrounding Wetlands Park and throughout the Las Vegas Valley," said Captain John Liberty of Metro's Southeast Area Command. "We continue to stress to parents the importance of knowing where your kids are and what they are doing. Check their cell phones and texts for postings about parties and other activities that can lead your kids into trouble."
At 2,900 acres, Clark County Wetlands Park is the valley's largest and most undeveloped park. The Las Vegas Wash flows through the area, creating a vast haven for wildlife and desert foliage and also posing a challenge for law enforcement. Since launching the interagency effort, Clark County's costs to clean up and repair graffiti and vandalism have dropped from $53,000 in 2016 to under $10,000 per year. Metro reports that the most common calls in the area are suspicious vehicles followed by reports of illegal shootings. The area has historically been used for target shooting, but those activities are dangerous and illegal given the valley's population of more than 2 million people. Metro encourages visitors and residents in the area to call 3-1-1 to report any suspicious activity, and 9-1-1 to report actual crimes in progress.
Along with Metro and Clark County Park Police, other partners in the safety effort include the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Henderson Police, Nevada Highway Patrol, the Clark County Water Reclamation District, Clark County's Department of Parks and Recreation, the Clark County Detention Center Graffiti Abatement Unit, and community groups such as Clark County Wetlands Park volunteers and Get Outdoors Nevada.
Officials also encourage the public to help keep Clark County Wetlands Park clean by not littering or engaging in illegal dumping. The area tends to get hit hard when it rains because trash travels downstream through the Las Vegas Wash, often getting stuck in low-lying areas of Clark County Wetlands Park. Since Sept. 2018, almost 700 volunteers have participated in eight cleanups at the park, resulting in an estimated 9,500 pounds of trash being picked up. Volunteers are welcome to get involved in monthly stewardship activities through the Wetlands: Hands On (WHO) program. A trash cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. near the Sam Boyd Silver Bowl in the park. Participants are asked to register in advance by email at email@example.com. To learn more about community cleanups and tips on how to properly dispose of common household items visit www.KeepClarkCountyClean.com.
Clark County Wetlands Park is kicking off spring break week with BioBlitz on Monday, April 15 from
8 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event is free and open to adults and kids. Participants with the help of scientists will identify as many species of plants and animals as possible. No advanced registration is required. Tuesday, April 16 through Friday, April 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can continue BioBlitz observations on their own and take part in a daily Photo Scavenger Hunt starting at the Nature Center. For information more information about activities, call (702) 455-7522 or visit www.ClarkCountyNV.gov/wetlandspark. Clark County Wetlands Park is open from sunrise to sunset each day. The Clark County Wetlands Park Nature Center at 7050 Wetlands Park Lane is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Officials also remind the public of these rules:
- It is illegal to discharge a firearm at Clark County Wetlands Park or any County park except the Clark County Shooting Complex, located at 11357 N. Decatur Blvd.
- Fireworks, slingshots, boomerangs, and martial arts paraphernalia are not allowed in any County park without written permission from the Director of Parks & Recreation.
- No motor vehicles are allowed or permitted off roadways or parking lots in Clark County Wetlands Park. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. No campfires, grills, or stoves are permitted.