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National Wildlife Refuge

Hwy 40, 14 miles west of
Denio, NV   
E-mail: Brian_Day@fws.gov
Phone Number: 775-941-0199
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge

The Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge protects more than half a million acres of high desert habitat for large wintering herds of pronghorn antelope, scattered bands of bighorn sheep, and a rich assortment of other wildlife. The landscape is vast, rugged, and punctuated with waterfalls, narrow gorges, and lush springs among rolling hills and expansive tablelands of sagebrush and mountain mahogany.

Although established for the protection of wildlife and habitat, the refuge encompasses other interesting features. The remains of old homesteads and ranches intrigue visitors. The lure of fire opals draws miners and rock collectors to the Virgin Valley mining district. Geothermal hot springs create a refreshing oasis in the heart of the refuge. The refuge's mosaic of resources and public interests generates significant management challenges.

Getting There . . .
Highway 140 provides access into the heart of Sheldon Refuge. From Lakeview, Oregon, travel 68 miles east on 140. From Denio, Nevada, travel 14 miles west on Highway 40.

Click here for a refuge map.

Gasoline and groceries are available in Denio, Nevada (14 miles from the east boundary), Lakeview, Oregon (68 miles west from boundary on Highway 140), Cedarville, California (46 miles from west boundary) and Winnemucca, Nevada (100 miles from east boundary). They are the nearest full-service communities with overnight lodging, auto repair, retail stores, and tourist information. During the summer, the Royal Peacock Mine in Virgin Valley has some supplies such as ice, several furnished overnight accommodations, and a pay phone.

Driving or riding any mechanical vehicle (including bicycles) off road is prohibited and they must remain on established roads. Please respect all road closures. Most refuge roads are not maintained for passenger vehicles. Those who wish to travel off the main thoroughfares need high clearance and four-wheel drive vehicles. Small amounts of precipitation can make roads very muddy. During the winter and spring, most refuge roads are impassable due to snow or wet conditions. Please avoid driving on muddy roads for your own safety and the protection of fragile resources.

Emergency services and roadside assistance are not readily available on the refuge. Cellular phone coverage is extremely limited. Refuge staff are not able to provide or sell gas, ice, phone access, towing, or auto repair service.

Get Google map and directions to this refuge/WMD from a specified address:

Your full starting address AND town and state OR zip code

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NOTE: When using this feature, you will be leaving the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service domain. We do not control the content or policies of the site you are about to visit. You should always check site policies before providing personal information or reusing content.

These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Observing and photographing wildlife are the most popular recreational activities on the refuge.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
The primary focus of the refuge is to manage the refuge as a representative area of the sagebrush-steppe landscape for optimum populations of native plants and wildlife. Prescribed fire is the primary habitat management tool used to create, restore and improve the health and diversity of habitats which are beneficial to wildlife.

Approximately 300 species of birds, mammals, amphibians, fish, and reptiles live on the refuge, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, sage grouse, kangaroo rats, mountain lions, waterfowl, and up to 3,500 pronghorn, to name a few. Wildlife populations and habitat are monitored closely to ensure that wildlife and habitat management objectives are met.

Horses and burros are not native to Sheldon Refuge. They are descended from domestic stock turned loose around the turn of the twentieth century. They are primarily grass eaters, and their grazing can devastate native vegetation and cause severe damage to riparian habitat.

Periodic horse and burro roundups are required to keep their numbers in check and reduce their impacts on native wildlife. California bighorn sheep were once abundant in northwestern Nevada.

Several factors, including competition with domestic livestock, disease and over-hunting resulted in the elimination of sheep from the area around 1930. Refuge efforts to reintroduce them have been successful, and today their numbers continue to expand.

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