KayLynn Roberts-McMurray
The Nevada Department of Wildlife has re-opened Cave Lake to the public during a rehabilitation project that will take up to five years.

Nevada Department of Wildlife in coordination with the Nevada Division of Water Resources and Nevada State Parks, announced late last week that they commenced a rehabilitation project to restore and repair the Cave Creek Dam, located within Cave Lake State Park. 

In October, following the lake drawdown, project engineers discovered unstable and potentially dangerous conditions at Cave Lake, including deep mud along the shoreline as well as a small whirlpool. To help address these issues and protect visitors, a new entry point has been installed near the boat dock and a safety barricade surrounds the whirlpool.

One week prior to the the notice, the Ely Rotary Fishing Derby had canceled its annual event for Jan. 25, due to safety concerns. The annual derby creates a major economic impact each year for the county. 

A day before what would have been the annual event, Nevada Department of Wildlife issued a statement that Cave Lake State Park was re-opened. 

Visitors to Cave Lake State Park may now resume access to the lake and enjoy an abundance of activities, including ice fishing during winter months and kayaking and swimming in the summer. 

The public is advised to only access the lake via the newly installed entry point and to stay off the shoreline, as unsafe muddy conditions may persist. The boat dock will remain closed for the duration of the project.

The Cave Creek Dam restoration project is anticipated to be complete in four to five years, depending on weather conditions, funding and other factors. Status updates and other pertinent information surrounding Cave Lake State Park are available online at parks.nv.gov/cavelake. 

“The Nevada Department of Wildlife, together with our partners, is committed to ensuring all Nevadans and visitors can continue to enjoy the myriad recreational opportunities and natural splendor that Cave Lake State Park has to offer,” said NDOW Chief Engineer Rodd Lighthouse. “We appreciate your understanding as we complete these critical safety projects at Cave Lake to help ensure safe, memorable, and amazing recreational experiences for all.”  

Originally constructed in 1932, Cave Creek Dam’s aging infrastructure, coupled with findings from a recent engineering assessment, indicate that the dam needs repair and improvements to help accommodate extreme weather and storm events.

The Cave Creek Dam rehabilitation project includes enhancing the overall stability of the dam with an expanded spillway, increase