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Desert National Wildlife Refuge, Near Las Vegas, Nevada

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is a protected wildlife refuge, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, located north of Las Vegas, Nevada, in northwestern Clark and southwestern Lincoln counties, with much of its land area lying within the southeastern section of the Nevada Test and Training Range. The Desert NWR, created on May 20, 1936, is the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states of the United States, encompassing 1.615 million acres of the Mojave Desert in the southern part of Nevada. This Range is part of the larger Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge, and the Amargosa Pupfish Station.


Range/Refuge staff work out of the Corn Creek Field Station, which includes a visitors center, which is located 23 miles (37 km) north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The Range can be accessed from U.S. 95 North.


The Desert NWR contains six major mountain ranges, including the Sheep Range, with heights up to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and valleys around 2,500 feet (800 m). Annual rainfall in the range varies from less than four inches (102 mm) in the valleys to over fifteen inches (381 mm) on the mountain peaks.


Perpetuating the desert bighorn sheep and its habitat is the most important objective of the range. The Range actively improves bighorn habitats by developing new water sources and maintaining and improving existing ones. Numerous other wildlife species share the range with bighorns.


Numerous recreational opportunities are available on the Range. Camping, hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding are all popular activities enjoyed by refuge visitors. Limited hunting for bighorn sheep is permitted. Please contact the Refuge Manager for additional information.

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Taken on September 1, 2012