Pickup trucks hauling boats paraded the Las Vegas Strip in protest of the government shutdown. The shutdown forced the closure of Lake Mead to boaters. (FOX5)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -
Boaters in Las Vegas are upset because they can't go to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, thanks to the government shutdown. Sunday evening they took their boats to the Las Vegas Strip in protest.
About 20 boats cruising down the strip around 6 p.m. looked like fish out of water, and that's what Stuart Litjens was going for when he organized the protest. The owner of Boulder Boats wants the government shutdown to end so Lake Mead can reopen. He asked his friends and clients to help him spread the word.
"You keep hearing about 800,000 government workers out of work, but not so much about the private sector and the tour operators and the other businesses affected by that," Litjens said.
On Sunday, the lake was completely empty, which was an unsettling picture for Litjens during peak boating season. He estimates if the shutdown continues for a month, he will lose about a half-million dollars in boat sales.
Kim Kelch, owner of Above All Las Vegas ATV Tours and Watercraft Rentals, said the shutdown forced her business to close for the summer a month before her season typically ends because there is nowhere for people to ride her jet skis.
"I've got enough skis to bring in enough money to pay the bills for two months in about two week's time. So to lose that really hurts," said Kelch.
Although they aren't on the water, members of the Lake Mead Community said it felt good to be working together hoping things go back to normal soon. They hope the demonstration grabs the attention of the federal government and convinces them to end the shutdown.
Boaters say Lake Havasu is one of the closest bodies of water that is still open. It's about two and a half hours away by car.
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