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Lovell Wash Narrows Closure
(aka Anniversary Narrows)

Update -- March 2016. Access to the Alternate Route is Closed

Kent writes: The alternate route to the Narrows is now off limits, a new sign was posted today and we had an encounter with the owners security. Another hiker writes: The group I went with today is the last group to legally use the alternate route to the narrows, off the dirt road from mile marker 16. There was no sign when we got there, but it was up when we got back to the cars. Effective today, the alternate route via anniversary road is closed. The only way to the narrows now is via the Bowl of Fire, up to Anniversary Peak, down a looong way to the narrows, return the same way. Maybe somebody will find another route someday.

route is closed

Note that the sign has the wrong number for the BLM

 

Update -- January 2016: Access Road to Anniversary Narrows is Closed

A friend writes: Well, much ado about nothing, sort of. A) There were no signs on the bypass route ... at all. B) No one was working today that could yell at us! C) There was a large cairn and post on the edge of the private property closest to Northshore Road. Someone said that it read "private property" in small letters. D) We met two people came from the gate. When asked if there was a sign, they said, "Not that I read!" And, they said there were no workers around. In summation, I'm not sure that we learned anything except that the bypass route is not posted with "No Trespassing."

Update -- April 20, 2015: Access Road to Anniversary Narrows is Closed

The narrows was dug open and rock removed as I agreed with the park service on March 13, 2015. The insurance company is coming out to inspect. -- Mark Ford, Owner

Update -- March 1, 2015: Access Road to Anniversary Narrows is Closed

I had a long phone call with the land owner today. He seems like a nice guy who is happy to spend his own money to facilitate hiker access to Anniversary Narrows, but the issues are complicated and he is being pinched between his insurance company and the BLM. The insurance company says they won't write a policy unless he can improve safety, but the BLM won't let him do the work to make it safer. The safety issues seem to revolve around loose rocks on the hillside above the gate and one mine entrance. The owner wants to knock down the loose rocks once and for all, and then put a shipping container into the mine entrance which would shore up the entrance to allow safe worker passage while being easily lockable to keep the public out. After the insurance policy is renewed, the land owner intends to improve the road through the lower narrows to a parking area. Hikers could then drive through the lower narrows (insurance thinks driving would be safer than walking), park, and walk into the Wilderness Area and the main narrows. This seems like a reasonable outcome, but it can't happen until details are worked out. The owner thinks everything could be resolved in 2 weeks if allowed to do the work.

Update -- February 20, 2015: Access Road to Anniversary Narrows is Closed

I went out to Anniversary Narrows today, drove around, talked with the miners (actually, landfill operators now), and hiked an alternate route into the narrows. My impression is that the land owner is in an argument with the BLM or Park Service over paving the access road, and so closed the road to force resolution of the issue. They are also annoyed by theft and vandalism, and I hear from elsewhere that drivers are submitting vehicle damage insurance claims against the land owner after the drivers damaged their own vehicle on the rough road (morons!). The land owner is also concerned about personal injury liability.

From my conversation, I feel that the land owner doesn't really care if people hike to the narrows -- they just don't want liability. If hikers park in the usual 2WD parking area and walk down the road, walk around the gate (the gate is designed for walk-around), and hike to the narrows, my impression is that nobody will care. If however, hikers get hurt, they had better not complain to the land owner because they will be admitting to trespassing and subject to prosecution.

I also walked an alternate route that the land owner seems to feel is okay for hikers. The route crosses the private land far to the east of the work area where there are no fences and no signs. Still, if someone gets hurt, they had better not complain to the land owner because they will be admitting to trespassing and subject to prosecution.

Anniversary Narrows
Approaching Lovell Wash
Anniversary Narrows
Approaching gate in Lovell Wash
Anniversary Narrows
Gate (Feb. 20, 2015)
Anniversary Narrows
Gate (Feb. 20, 2015)
Anniversary Narrows Anniversary Narrows
Anniversary Narrows
Edge of the gate
Anniversary Narrows
Edge of the gate seems designed to allow foot traffic

Update -- February 15, 2015: Access Road to Anniversary Narrows is Closed

The access road to Anniversary Narrows (the regular route) is closed. However, hikers can bypass the mine area to the east and get into the narrows.

Update -- February 5, 2015: Anniversary Narrows is Closed

Gerry writes: I haven't yet been able to contact BLM to find out more, but when I arrived at Anniversary Narrows today with out of town guests there was a large barrier with Keep Out warning signs. The barrier is just a few hundred feet from where the road enters the wash. They had this phone number posted to contact BLM: 702-515-5000.

Update -- January 31, 2013: Expected to reopen to vehicles soon.

A friend writes: I went to the area and a workman was running a backhoe jack hammer just over the "hump" (where the old gate was). I talked to him about the road - he said that "the man who owns this" intends to keep the road open. He was clearing slide rock and breaking up boulders with the big jackhammer. The rig was a rental so I would not expect it to be there indefinitely. He was blocking access that day (due to working in the narrow canyon), but the road looked fine. His work has made the "hump" easier to negotiate, but the hump and the upper wash before the narrows require high clearance. This is a great destination for elderly visiting relatives, and because hikers can drive to the narrows, even semi-frail people can now enjoy the narrows.

Update -- January 27, 2013: Open to Hikers, but not Vehicles

Unfortunately, you cannot [drive all the way to the narrows] now. There is a tractor in the wash right before you turn right to the first mining tunnel. There is a bunch of rocks and you can only hike across.

Update -- October 10, 2012: Still Open

I drove the road all the way to the mouth of the narrows. The new road was rough and I used 4WD. In my un-lifted jeep, I dragged my bumper or tailpipe on one drop off. There were no signs or gates along the road. I saw one new mine opening by the old loading dock (which is gone), but did not stop to investigate any of the old mines. Miners were working on the flats northeast of where the road drops into Lovell Wash.

Update -- September 18, 2012: Still Open

A friend writes: Just finished exploring the Lovell Wash Narrows today and your most recent update is still applicable (i.e. you can drive all the way to the narrows).

Update -- April 20, 2012: Still Open

A friend writes: Just wanted to let you know I went to anniversary mine yesterday. The road up (94a) was was fine - no closed signs. There is a worker's cabin on the bench before the drop into Lovell wash, but no sign of anyone working. The road down into the wash has been improved at the bottom, and it looks easy to drive all the way down to the wash. There was a fence across the bottom of the narrows just near the mines, but this looks to have been torn down. The path up to the mine (and to the one closer to the narrows entrance) had been graded. There was also a graded road at the bend where the was straightens out to lead to the narrows. I hiked up this, but it just leads to a bowl with some abandoned vehicles that looked to have been pushed over from the top. A few fossils on the way there though!

Update -- January 15, 2012: Reopened?

A friend writes: I hiked it yesterday. I came in from the west and south. So I do not know what the status of the traditional road access and parking area was. I can only note that when I got to where the road drops into the wash there were people hiking back up the hill and 4 cars in the bottom of the wash.

The road was no longer fenced off. I did not see the danger sign and I looked. The dust control warning sign was still there attached to the fence which was on the ground. Whether that was something the miners did or hiking vigilantes I do not know.

All the holes in the hill that I could see from the streambed seemed to have new danger signs on them. One could conclude that a site meant to have no public access would not have numerous individual danger signs. Whereas if they expected the public to access the streambed but stay out of certain areas that is how it would be signed. Then again that could just be wishful thinking.

I saw no signs of any miners or their working equipment. Granted it was a Saturday, but I would think heavy equipment would not be moved in and out over the weekend. Again one could conclude that the miners are letting people in the wash. Or, that a popular area has been inappropriately taken back for the time being by the people.

Also, for what it is worth, the road to the west up the top of the hill and the old main mine dump is now in great shape. If you have a high clearance vehicle that is now another way to access the area as that ties into the north shore road at MP13.

Just my observations.

Update -- December 25, 2011: Still Closed?

A friend writes: We hiked Anniversary Peak and Anniversary Narrows on Christmas day. Anniversary Mining LLC has removed the fencing along the top of the Wash. They have moved their primary activity above to the north-east. The road is clear into the wash. There is still a Danger sign where the road descends into the wash and another in the wash at the fence/gate as the wash turns right and enters the old mining area.

Lots of activity visible from the fence/gate and I doubt the area would be considered safe for hiking through. The miners have been working on the wash walls. Farther in where the wash straightens out and runs NE, the miners appear to have opened up a new shaft along the east side of the ridge. This is the area where the old mining timbers lined the lower part of the ridge. To the SW, obvious activity in the wash and in the small gully to the NW that joins the wash from the old mining site above. The area also appears to have been graded for access.

We are not exactly sure what is going on, but I would not want to encourage anyone to do anything unsafe or anything that might antagonize or result in a safety violation for Anniversary Mining LLC.

CLOSED! (October 2011).

The traditional route into Lovell Canyon Narrows is closed because Anniversary Mining Claims, LLC, owns a short section of the bottom of the wash, and they are working in that area. At this point, it is unclear how long the closure will remain in effect.

I've heard, but not verified, that the land owner is trying to close old mine shaft and reduce the number of hazards in the area so that his insurance rates can be reduced.

The land in question is a patented mining claim, which is to say, private property. This land is outside Lake Mead National Recreation Area and surrounded by BLM land. Thus, the Park Service has little leverage on the situation, and the BLM says they have none. The private land is within Clark County, so the county would be the entity with jurisdiction.

The road through the area is a legal county road (specifically, a formally recorded RS2477 road), so the land owner has no right to close the road. Unfortunately for hikers, there is no "road" up the wash.

closure
This gate seems to be on BLM (public) land (since removed)
closure
Gate in the lower narrows
closure
Close up of gate in lower narrows
closure
Excavator working on ridgeline above lower narrows
closure closure
closure
December 25, 2011
closure
December 25, 2011
closure
December 25, 2011. Danger sign along public road
closure
December 25, 2011. Fence and gate in wash

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 160319

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