Boulder City - The Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City - The Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Spotlight on Business
by Ev Chase

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If this article was only about the fun of taking a trip below Hoover Dam on the Colorado River, all we would need is pictures to understand and enjoy. But there is more. Ron Deeb is the man who is running this fun business and he has something to say.

Fun On The Colorado River In Rafts

"They want us to call this an interpretive float trip," says Ron Deeb, General Manager of Black Canyon River Adventures.

"That means any information we give must have substantial fact behind it."

"They" is the National Park Service, the granting authority for who does what and where when it comes to the lake and its surrounding territory. But Deeb has no problem with that.

"I have been in the marina industry since 1978. I went to work at Black Canyon National Recreation Area at Lake Powell, working with one of the concessionaires."

As it turns out, even after Ron changed jobs, someone bought someone and he is here now working as top dog for this adventure and loves what he is doing.

"What my job entails," Deeb continues, "is to develop business with the local community as well as the tourism opportunities coming through the hustling every growing Las Vegas community."

What still amazes Ron is that not just visitors, but local area people are unaware of what the surrounding areas have to offer and that casinos are what the Las Vegas community is all about.

"One thing that enlightens me," Ron says, "is when locals come out here and have more to say about what's here than tourists. I had a lady tell me last week, "I've lived 28 years in Las Vegas and I had no idea how spectacular things were out here."

Deeb says Black Canyon Adventures are very fortunate they can capitalize on their opportunity to show Black Canyon off to their customers.

"It really is a magical place, with the abundance of wild life and the cool clean waters of the Colorado River. It tends to overwhelm people right off the bat."

But Ron adds credit where credit is due. He says the river overwhelms people "initially" and his raft pilots take it from there.

"They are full of knowledge, but they are also entertainers," Ron says. "It certainly is their job to allow people to ask questions and get answers, but they keep it light and make it a fun trip while working within the parameters of what the Park Service expects."

The trip lasts from three to three and half hours, according to Deeb. They make a couple of beach stops to let people stretch their legs and see the sites, have lunch and "play" in the water.

"Our trip is not a thrill ride", Deeb says, "it's certainly enlightening and exciting, but it isn't white knuckles. There are no rapids below the dam, but the majority of our rafters have the opportunity to see wildlife down the canyon."

Lake Mead National Recreation Area in the early 90's began working on a The Lake Management Plan - "a fact-finding mission" according to Jim Holland Park Planner. The studies developed by that plan, relating to use and preservation, recently brought about the implementation of a plan which effects the Black Canyon area and closes the river from Hoover Dam to Willow Beach to all motorized traffic on Sunday and Monday other than to Black Canyon River Adventures.

"We still have opportunities. There are no motor boats allowed and the term they use is primitive, so we really have a relaxing raft trip."

And because of their unique situation they have the benefit of overseeing the launching area and the access road which is also used by a Kyacking company.

Deeb's duties are not limited to Black Canyon Adventures, but extend down river beyond Black Canyon where they park their rafts waiting for their next adventure.

"We also have a small facility at Willow Beach which at one time was the jewel of Lake Mead National Recreation Area," Ron says. "

Ron is also General Manager of Willow Beach and expects sometime in the future the area which was hit by a flash flood during the late 80's could be productive as it once was.

"After it sat vacant for a year or two," says Deeb, "Forever Resorts was approached and asked if it would be interested in assisting to keep the area open."

They have it operating according according to Deeb, but they a still struggling to make work to pay for itself.

"The government has just installed a new marina and we should have an opportunity in the foreseeable future to do more in the area."

Ever since 9-11 for obvious security reasons, Black Canyon River Adventures has been parking their rafts at Willow Beach. The raft drivers bring the rafts by water up to the dam area while buses take the passengers, who are picked up at the Hacienda hotel by the way of the dirt road, to their place on the water on the Nevada side of the river.

"We don't take their money in advance," Ron says, "we take it only when they show up. We provide them a lunch - a turkey croissant, water, cookies, and chips. The price is included in the price of the trip for walk-up guests."

Ron says they remind the guests the areas they are traveling are primitive and they should use the modern facilities before they get on the bus.

Getting on the bus normally means at the Hacienda, but they also pick up passengers in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas fare pumps up the tour price about 30 bucks.

"Should they request a ride from the Las Vegas Strip, the price of the raft trip, which is normally $72.95 goes up to $105.95."

But the buses are air conditioned and well maintained and the drivers, like the raft pilots, provide honest and accurate information, not only about the raft trip and where they are going, but about the Las Vegas area and Boulder City as well.

Deeb has a positive outlook, even with so many changes going on around him.

"The highway and the bypass of the Dam has caused minimal issues and certainly is cause for lots of exciting developments for the future."

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