Concessioner-operated facilities in the Echo Bay area at Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) will have a minor change in name and a bigger change in boat rental offerings as part of switch to new management. Forever Resorts has taken over operations under a three-year temporary contract.
Echo Bay is located on the north side of Lake Mead, about 50 road miles east of Las Vegas. The major developed area on the lake's Overton Arm, Echo Bay includes a concessioner-operated marina, motel, restaurant, trailer village and RV park. Those facilities will continue to operate, although there will be one change in boat rentals.
Houseboat rentals will be discontinued at Echo Bay, but small boat rentals such as ski and patio boats will continue to be offered. Houseboat rentals will still be available at Forever Resorts’ other locations on Lake Mead at Callville Bay and Temple Bar. You'll find all of those locations identified on a map of the park.
According to Kris Kirby, commercial services division chief for Lake Mead NRA, most changes at Echo Bay will be cosmetic.
"The operation’s name will change from Echo Bay Resort to Echo Bay Marina, and the temporary contract will allow visitor services to continue while the agency completes a long-term contract prospectus for Echo Bay," Kirby said. "The prospectus is expected to be released for open bidding by the end of the year."
"Visitors should see a seamless transition. We’re fortunate that Forever Resorts brings with them extensive marina and resort experience."
Lake Mead has been plagued by low water levels in recent years, and that's created plenty of challenges for boaters, concessioners and the NPS. Falling lake levels left some boat launching facilities high and dry, requiring extensions of the ramps to allow their continued use. Low water also forced the relocation of some marina facilities in the park last year, including those at Echo Bay.
Despite those challenges, the Echo Bay and Overton Arm areas of Lake Mead offer some fine scenery. The facilities are Echo Bay also provide a good base for day-trips to the nearby Valley of Fire State Park.
Echo Bay is Forever Resorts’ sixth concession at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The company also operates Callville Bay Marina, Temple Bar Marina, Cottonwood Cove Marina, Lake Mead RV Village, and Black Canyon/Willow Beach Adventures under contract with the NPS.
The previous concessioner at Echo Bay, Seven Crown Resorts, operated the facilities for 38 years. The Echo Bay area also includes an NPS-operated campground, boat launch facilities, and an airstrip.
History buffs may be interested to know that Echo Bay is near the former confluence of the Virgin and Colorado Rivers, where John Wesley Powell ended his epic 1869 journey down the Colorado and through the Grand Canyon.