About the Refuge
In 1913, President Woodrow
Wilson established the "Anaho Island Reservation" as a
preserve and breeding ground for native birds. Now known
as Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge, the island is located
within Pyramid Lake, Washoe County, Nevada and is part of the Pyramid
Lake Paiute Indian Reservation.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages Anaho Island NWR under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe. Because Anaho Island has no mammalian predators and is closed to the public, it provides undisturbed breeding habitat for colonial nesting birds such as American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhyncos) double crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), California gulls (Larus californicus), and great blue herons (Ardea herodias).
The name “Anaho” is said be the name of an Indian maiden banished to the island for breaking Tribal taboos. Although the island is volcanic in origin, its most striking rock formations are “tufa”, calcium carbonate which precipitated out of water from hot springs as pluvial Lake Lahontan receded. One often photographed tufa formation is the Stone Mother, located just north of Anaho Island along the shore of Pyramid Lake. Paiute lore includes the creation of Pyramid Lake – a mother had two children who were always fighting, so she sent one to the north and one to the south until they could get along. She sat in the desert with her basket and cried while she waited. They never returned. The mother’s tears filled the valley and she turned to stone.
The Anaho Island NWR is part of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex.