Classic park entrance gates on both ends of the highway, at Summerlin and 160, (like the ones at Lake Mead) could serve to enhance the visitor experience and increase education, accountability, and funds for the park. An entrance station could also help fund more law enforcement and educate drivers about the delicate flora and fauna of the area, increasing levels of awareness, respect, and responsibility. Education and accountability are always key. The more educated people are, the more responsible they are. This is why gated neighborhoods have entrance booths. Don Albietz might have been spared if the truck driver had known he had to go through two entrance booths, because after he hit him, he drove away and didn’t help him. Instead, he ran undetected and hid for three days until the police found him. If he would have stayed and helped him, he might have been able to save his life. Or he might have been driving more carefully in the first place, or chosen to bypass this road altogether to avoid going through entrance booths with his illegal cargo. Doing park entrance booths is a big project that will take a lot of convincing of multiple agencies to do. Perhaps NDOT and BLM could come up with a cooperative agreement of maintenance vs. enforcement. Right now the BLM is building more entrance booths to replace the ones they already had that only service the scenic loop. That idea originated from a model that unfortunately no longer fits what has become the most popular national conservation area in the country. I have met the new management. They are more accessible than the previous management and I am hopeful that they will be flexible enough to move toward a plan that could serve more of our national conservation area than just the small part that is the scenic loop. There are many more hiking canyons and pullouts in Red Rock that cannot be monitored and maintained as closely as those within the park entrance gates of the scenic loop. But it will take someone in the BLM with forsight and commitment to accomplish something like this. If it can work everywhere else, there’s no reason it couldn’t here.
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