Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge


An American white pelican at anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
An American white pelican in flight above Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
Tufa at Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge

Anaho Island is a small (247 acres), rocky island in Pyramid Lake that is much loved by a large colony of American white pelicans. Between 8,000 and 10,000 white pelicans return to Anaho Island every spring after spending their winters in Mexico. They come back because of the excellent fishing during the spring spawning runs at Pyramid Lake. They also fish the wetlands and shallow lakes at Stillwater and Fallon National Wildlife Refuges and at Lahontan Reservoir.

Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge also serves the nesting, breeding and feeding purposes of birds like California gulls, Double breasted cormorants, Black-crowned night herons, Great blue herons and Caspian terns. Because this property is so critical to the survival of some of these species and because their nesting habits are so easily disturbed, Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public. The closure boundary extends to 500 offshore from the island. Anaho Island can be seen from anywhere around the shoreline 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 National Wildlife Refuge is administered as part of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex. President Woodrow Wilson signed the paperwork establishing Anaho Island as a preserve for colony-nesting birds. Anaho Island was redesignated as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1940. In 1990, Public Law 101-618 recognized the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe as the owners of the island, and the island was to continue to be managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. 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.

White pelicans at Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge on Pyramid Lake
American white pelicans at Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
An aerial view of Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
An aerial view of Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge
Anaho Island Location map
Anaho Island location map
Map of the Pyramid Lake area
The Pyramid Lake area