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That lake sure knows how to party


Q: Which species’ herd is led by a dominant female? A: Desert Bighorn Sheep.

That’s a personal favorite from the list of 50 trivia questions about Lake Mead, assembled by the National Park Service in honor of the National Recreation Area’s 50 th anniversary. (Another: What’s the name of the park’s native plant nursery? Song Dog.) 

This favorite local spot of boaters and triathletes was designated America’s first recreation area on October 8, 1964. To mark the occasion, the park service has scheduled a full week of events for the public. The festivities kick off Wednesday, October 8, with a show of music, images and stories by naturalist painter and photographer Sharon K. Shafer surveying the area’s history (space is limited; register by calling 702-293-8990). The celebration culminates Saturday, October 11, in the Cottonwood Cove Eco Dive, where volunteers are rewarded for their work beautifying the marina by lunch, prizes, birthday cake and a special presentation (register online here).

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All week long, rangers are reminding visitors of the 50 fun things there are to do on the recreation area’s 1.5 million acres. Organized by activities on the water, on land, by car and on foot, the list encompasses items for newbies (walk through tunnels at the Historic Railroad Trail), seasoned outdoorsmen (rock climb in the backcountry), sporty types (cycle the River Mountain Loop Trail), those looking to relax (fish the peaceful Overton Arm) and even teens (take a selfie at Liberty Bell Arch). Check enough of these suggestions off the list, and you’re bound to spot one of those female-led herds of sheep.

Desert Companion welcomed Heidi Kyser as staff writer in January 2014. In 2018, she was promoted to senior writer and producer, working for both DC and State of Nevada. She produced KNPR’s first podcast, the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award-winning Native Nevada, in 2020. The following year, she returned her focus full-time to Desert Companion, becoming Deputy Editor, which meant she was next in line to take over when longtime editor Andrew Kiraly left in July 2022.