With the first big snowfall of the winter season expected Tuesday in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and members of the Mount Charleston Winter Alliance are encouraging the public to plan ahead before making the drive up the mountain to play in the snow.
"The Springs Mountains are a tremendous natural resource but when there is snow on the ground the influx of visitors can create significant hazards," said Clark County Commissioner Larry Brown, whose Commission District C includes the Mount Charleston area of the Spring Mountains. "We all need to do our part to protect and preserve the area. The goal of the Mount Charleston Winter Alliance is to ensure public safety and provide visitors with information resources they can turn to for the latest on road conditions, closures and visitation tips."
The popularity of Lee and Kyle Canyons during the winter can bring 25,000 cars to the area, especially on weekends when snow is present. The public is encouraged to visit www.GoMtCharleston.com for information about snow and road conditions, weather updates, and winter driving and snow play safety tips. For real-time road information, visitors also can dial 511 within Nevada and 1-877-NV-ROADS (1-877-687-6237) outside of Nevada or visit www.nvroads.com/511-home.
To ensure timely emergency response and public safety, Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) monitors traffic congestion and road conditions in both canyons and regulates access. Extended traffic delays may occur intermittently on high traffic days on Nevada State Routes 156 (Lee Canyon Rd.), 157 (Kyle Canyon Rd.) and 158 (Deer Creek Rd.) that provides access to ski and snow play areas in the canyons. Due to public safety concerns for emergency access, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has put additional parking restrictions in place on Nevada State Route 156 (Lee Canyon Road) along the Lee Meadows area This is similar to restrictions along upper portions of Kyle Canyon Road. Recreationist should plan accordingly and dress warmly in case they need to park and walk a distance to access snow. Drivers should follow all posted parking signs. Illegally parked vehicles may be fined and towed.
"Access to parking in Lee Canyon is limited due to necessary right-of-way reserved for safety reasons and road maintenance, including snow plow activities and emergency response vehicles," said NDOT District 1 Engineer Mary Martini.
Visitors should keep these visitation tips in mind:
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing including layering light and warm clothing, gloves, hats, scarves and waterproof boots.
- Do not sled in areas with less than 12 inches of snow, and avoid traffic and dangerous objects like trees and rocks. Use sturdy sleds for snow play, not makeshift items like cardboard boxes.
- Do not trespass on private property or closed areas.
- Take trash home or put it in provided trashcans or dumpsters. Help keep the Spring Mountains beautiful for everyone to enjoy.
- To avoid crowds, you may want to consider visiting more remote areas of the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area. When snow is available, Lovell Canyon, Trout Canyon, and the Potosi Mountain area make great snow play areas if you are properly equipped. Remember that roads to these areas are not maintained.
The Mount Charleston Winter Alliance promotes public safety during the winter months when Kyle Canyon and Lee Canyon see large spikes in visitation. Agency partners include Clark County, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (Metro), Lee Canyon (ski area), the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District, National Weather Service, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP), the U.S. Forest Service, and Southern Nevada Conservancy.