Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge

Anaho Island NWR, Nevada
Anaho Island
Anaho Island tufa

An uninhabited island in Pyramid Lake, Anaho Island protects one of the two largest American white pelican colonies in western North America. The island also has breeding colonies of Caspian terns, great blue herons, snowy egrets, California gulls, double-crested cormorants, and black-crowned night-herons. Access to the island is highly restricted with no humans allowed and boats not allowed to come closer than 500 feet from the rocky shores. The island itself is roughly 247 acres in size and can be seen from just about anywhere around the shore of Pyramid Lake. There is also an excellent overlook provided on the Pyramid Lake Scenic Byway for folks who want to see what all the fuss is about.

Anaho Island was originally set aside by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913 as a breeding ground and preserve for colony nesting birds. The island was redesignated a National Wildlife Refuge in 1940. A proposal to designate Anaho Island as wilderness was presented to Congress in 1974 but has never been acted on. In 1990, Anaho Island was recognized as part of the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation and has been managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service ever since under an agreement with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Fish & Wildlife keeps everything pretty much natural but they do monitor the composition and abundance of vegetation on the island in comparison to other local habitats and they tend to band up to 400 preflight juvenile American white pelicans every year in late July and early August. A proposal to officially designate Anaho Island as a wilderness area was put in front of Congress in 1974 but Congress has not taken action yet. Since 1974, though, Anaho Island has been managed as the roadless wilderness it is.

Anaho Island NWR is managed as part of the Stillwater NWR Complex.

Pelicans on Pyramid Lake
American white pelicans fishing on Pyramid Lake
Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge area mapPyramid Lake Scenic Byway
Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge area map logo
Photos of Anaho Island and pelicans courtesy of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.
Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!
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