Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Desert National Wildlife Refuge’s official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the 20 page color brochure that visitors receive. The brochure explores the diverse environments of the refuge, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit.

This audio version is 55 minutes and 31 seconds long, and is divided into 20 sections. A map of the refuge is at the end of the brochure. You can listen straight through or choose which sections to hear. Most sections are less than one minute.

A team audio-described this brochure during the August 2020 Descriptathon led by the UniD team from the University of Hawaii and NPS. We enjoyed working on it and hope you find it useful.


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IMAGE AND TEXT: Desert National Wildlife Refuge

IMAGE AND TEXT: Desert National Wildlife Refuge section image

IMAGE 1 of 3: Bird image

DESCRIBING: A large, rectangular photograph.

DESCRIPTION:

The cover of the brochure is a full page photo. It is an up-close view taken from behind of a plump male quail and a chick to his left. They are standing on a log. The male quail appears on the front cover of the brochure, and the chick appears on the back cover, with the fold between them. The adult bird is twisted to his left so his profile is visible and he can look down at his chick. His distinctive topknot plume forms a black crescent curving down in front of his face. The beak is short and thick. His head is capped with rusty feathers that contrast with the gray feathers over his back. His belly feathers are just visible, streaked with white. One pale leg and foot are visible, with long nails, where he stands atop the bare, bleached log in strong sunlight. Only the tail end of the chick can be seen. Its body is bent down so it may be looking down from the log. The background is blurred green and brown.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer.

RELATED TEXT:

U.s. Fish and Wildlife Service. Desert National Wildlife Refuge. 

IMAGE 2 of 3: Department of Interior logo

DESCRIBING: A small, circular illustration.

DESCRIPTION:

This is the logo for the U.S. Department of the Interior.  It is a round illustration, with a white border rimmed in yellow.  In the border, red letters state "U.S. Department of the Interior" over the top; and underneath, "March 3, 1849."  In the center, a large American bison stands facing left in full-body profile. It  is colored brown with white horns. The ground it stands upon is green and brown.  Behind is a view of blue mountains edged in white.  A sun is rising above these high mountains, with red and yellow rays extending up to the border.


IMAGE 3 of 3: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo

DESCRIBING: A small, shield-shaped illustration.

DESCRIPTION:

This is the logo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The logo is in the shape of a shield with rounded shoulders thickly outlined by a dark brown perimeter. Inside, at the top, dark brown text reads “U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.” The text is set against a tan backdrop. At the center is another shield containing a simple illustration of a blue pool of water with white lines representing moving water. A blue fish erupts from the water and a blue duck holds its wings above its head with feet positioned to land. Behind them is an orange silhouette of a mountain below a large yellow sun. At the bottom of the shield is more dark brown text that reads “Department of the Interior”.


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IMAGE AND TEXT: Landscape

IMAGE AND TEXT: Landscape section image

DESCRIBING: A large, vertical photograph. 

DESCRIPTION:

A quote is shown superimposed over a full page image. A hazy light blue sky interlaced with three giant puffy clouds fills the top two-thirds of the page. The bottom third of the page is a desert landscape. Warm, low sunlight gently brightens three desert buttes. In the distance, a mountain rises in shadow. Dappling sunlight catches bristling clumps of desert vegetation in the foreground. Spiny tall yucca plants, brittle sagebrush, and bushy junipers fill the view with desert life. 

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT: The refuge is a remarkable land encompassing great diversity of terrain and climate wrapped in wild beauty and solitude.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Introduction

IMAGE AND TEXT: Introduction section image

DESCRIBING: A line drawing in brown.

DESCRIPTION:

At the base of the page, a line drawing of a male bighorn sheep frames the bottom of the text. The sheep has large horns curling around to the base of the jaw and stands atop a small boulder. Clumps of flowering plants are sketched around the rock.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT: Welcome to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The Desert National Wildlife Refuge includes more than 1.5 million acres (over 2,300 square miles) in southern Nevada. The vast refuge is large enough to cover the state of Rhode Island twice and still have room left for over a quarter of a million football fields. This is the largest National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the lower 48 states. 

The Desert NWR forms one of the largest intact blocks of desert bighorn sheep habitat remaining in the Southwest. The population fluctuates with ecological conditions. 

All roads beyond the Corn Creek Visitor Center are primitive, and ordinary passenger vehicles are not recommended. The wildlife and wildlands of the area are best appreciated by traveling on foot or horseback into the backcountry. 

The Desert NWR contains six major mountain ranges rising to an elevation of almost 10,000 feet. Annual rainfall ranges from less than 4 inches at low elevations to more than 15 inches on the highest peaks. The wide range of elevation and rainfall has created amazingly diverse habitat suited to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The Desert NWR is a land of great diversity. Here the Mojave Desert ecosystem merges with the Great Basin ecosystem on this vast, dry landscape. 

Plan your trip wisely and take time to get out of your vehicle and experience the stark beauty, wildness and solit ude of this remarkable land.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Early history of the refuge

IMAGES AND TEXT: Early history of the refuge section image

IMAGE 1 of 3: Prehistoric people

DESCRIBING: A small line drawing.

DESCRIPTION:

A brown and white line drawing of a bare chested man hunting with an atlatl (spear thrower). The atlatl is held horizontal to the ground above his right shoulder, with a spear placed on top. The spear extends about four feet in front of his chest. The man has mid-length dark hair and is dressed with a wrap around his hips and cloth or hide foot coverings.

RELATED TEXT:

Early History of the Refuge: Prehistoric people.

The area now known as the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the homeland of the Southern Paiute (Nuwuvi). Nuwuvi continue to visit this area and practice their culture as they did in the past. Agave is still gathered in the spring while pinyon pine nuts are collected in the fall. In the summer, domesticated plants such as corn and squash used to be grown along Corn Creek. Evidence of Nuwuvi interaction with the landscape is present at numerous cultural resource sites, such as agave roasting pits, rock shelters, camps, and locations with rock writing.

IMAGE 2 of 3: Roasting pit

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal photograph.

DESCRIPTION:

Image shows a stark desert landscape sparsely vegetated with agave and blackbrush plants, which are low lying shrubs. Mountains in the background have steep gray cliffs. In the foreground is an agave roasting pit. It is a circle of white rocks, perhaps 12 feet in diameter, rising up off the desert floor about 1-2 feet. It has a depression in the middle, similar to a volcanic caldera. There are more plants in the depression than in the surrounding desert.

CREDIT: Spencer Lodge. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT: Agave roasting pit. Native Americans used roasting pits to cook plants and meat. These earth ovens are circular mounds of thermally-altered rocks surrounding a sunken central cooking pit. Plants like agave and yucca were placed on a bed of hot rocks, covered with vegetation and sediment, and left to bake for up to two days. Baking a plant such as agave for a prolonged period renders this otherwise inedible vegetable into a sweet foodstuff. Pits where reused, while rocks and cooking debris were discarded each time, eventually forming a mounded midden.

IMAGE 3 of 3: Rock writing

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal photograph.

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a gray rock slab with figures etched into the surface. The rock face is gray with some diagonal banding of black, white, and red. There is black lichen clinging to the rock on the bottom left. The hand pecked lines of the rock writing are lighter than the rock and clearly visible. The writing is a collection of anthropomorphic, geometric, and animal shapes. Two large circles dominate the panel’s left section. Each is richly decorated with interior lines forming various geometric patterns.

CAPTION: Rock writing.

CREDIT: Spencer Lodge. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT: Rock writing includes petroglyphs and pictographs. Petroglyphs are motifs pecked into stone, most often through a thin, dark layer on the rock surface known as desert varnish. This exposed the lighter rock underneath. Pictographs are motifs painted onto stone with pigment made from ocher, animal fat, and native plants. They are often found on light-colored surfaces in places protected from the natural elements. Rock writing motifs convey a variety of meanings including many aspects of social and religious life.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Later history of the refuge

IMAGE AND TEXT: Later history of the refuge section image

DESCRIBING: A brown and white line drawing behind the text at the bottom of the page. 

DESCRIPTION:

A simple, brown and white line drawing of a well weathered, historic wood cabin. The cabin is a simple four sided rectangle, shown from the corner with the front and one full side visible. It is made of large, squared wood beams which fit together unevenly. The door and windows casings are empty. No detail is visible of the interior. The pitched roof is made of loosely fitted shingles. The cabin is set against tall dense shrubs which extend above the roofline.


CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT: 

Later History of the Refuge.

1700s:

Paiute Indians lived near permanent water sources in the late 1700s when Europeans first visited the region. These were Spanish pioneers searching for a route between settlements in present day New Mexico and California. The route is now known as the Spanish Trail. 

1850s:

In the mid 1850s, Mormon settlers moved into southern Nevada. Some settled in an area that is near current downtown Las Vegas. By the 1880s, settlements in the Moapa Valley (east towards the Colorado River) were well established. 

1900s:

Around the turn of the century, two wagon trails now known as the Alamo Road and the Mormon Well Road were developed as travel routes by pioneers in this region. These trails served early efforts at mining and ranching in this part of the state. 

1936:

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge was established by executive order in 1936 for the protection, enhancement, and maintenance of desert bighorn sheep. Corn Creek Spring, purchased in 1939 by the Federal Government, was an old ranch site and stage coach stop used by prospectors and cattlemen, as well as by poachers and bootleggers. During the early stages of World War II, an aerial bombing and gunnery range was superimposed on the western portion of the Desert NWR. This use continues today as the U.S. Air Force Nevada Test and Training Range. Due to safety and other security concerns this area is closed to all public entry.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Bighorn Sheep

IMAGE 1 of 3: Pair of bighorns

DESCRIBING: A small, square photograph.

DESCRIPTION:

Two bighorn sheep stand shoulder to shoulder on rocky ground. One sheep’s horns are thicker and larger, curling around to the base of the jaw. The other’s horns are slimmer, curving back to form two crescents. Both look off to the right, ears up, forelegs braced.

CAPTION: Bighorn Habitat

CREDIT: Gary Kramer

RELATED TEXT: The agile desert bighorn is at home in steep rocky mountains and foothills where it finds food, water, escape terrain and, most importantly, space. Bighorn can be extremely intolerant of human interference and the 1.5 million acres of the Desert NWR provides much needed refuge. Having rebounded from a record low of 300 in the late 1930s, the desert bighorn population now numbers approximately 850. This is well below the peak numbers recorded during the late seventies to the middle eighties, which coincided with a period of high precipitation. Bighorn ewes average 34 inches at the shoulder and rams average 36 inches, with weights of 75 to 115 pounds for an adult female to 125 to 180 pounds for a male.

IMAGE 2 of 3: Mom and lamb

DESCRIBING: A medium, cut-out illustration.

DESCRIPTION:

A line drawing is placed behind the text, showing the head and one foreleg of a female bighorn sheep with slender crescent horns arcing back, extending her neck to nose her young. The lamb’s eyes are closed and legs folded beneath its body, ears back in the direction of its mother.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT: Desert bighorn are highly socialized animals. Breeding season, or rut, peaks in late summer with lambing season occurring in late winter or early spring. During the non breeding season, older rams tend to segregate themselves from the remainder of the population. Group size varies with season and averages less than four sheep. Bighorn are remarkably adapted to this harsh desert environment. A human will die from dehydration after losing only 10 percent of their body weight. The bighorn are able to go as long as 8 days without a drink, losing up to 31percent of their body weight, and then will drink nearly 5 gallons at one time to replenish their lost water.

IMAGE 3 of 3: Single bighorn

DESCRIBING: A small, square photograph.

DESCRIPTION:

A square portrait of a male bighorn sheep showing just the head and neck. The animal looks right, displaying the left horn, which curls from the 9 o’clock position a few inches above the eyes around clockwise to the 6 o'clock position. The horn catches the light, bright enough to partly obscure the ridges along its surface. The animal is largely brown, but the muzzle is white. Muzzle and horn are about the same width, providing symmetry in shape.

CAPTION: Horns

CREDIT: Gary Kramer

RELATED TEXT: The majestic curled horns of the mature desert bighorn ram weigh approximately 30 pounds and may reach 30 to 40 inches on the outside curl. The ewe has slightly curved horns only 10 to 13 inches long. These horns are permanent and continue to grow throughout the animal’s life.




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IMAGES AND TEXT: Bighorn management

IMAGES AND TEXT: Bighorn management section image

IMAGE 1 of 2: Man overlooking rain catcher

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical photograph. 

DESCRIPTION:

A small rectangular photo shows a man in ballcap, jacket, and faded jeans standing beside a large, rectangular trough filled with green water. Beyond the man is a cluster of water catchment tanks. A steep slope rises past the tanks. The ground is rocky and dry, with very few plants.

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT: Bighorn Management. 

The males clash with their horns to establish social rank. Two rams will charge one another at combined speeds of nearly 45 miles per hour with the resulting crack of impact heard over a mile away. The rams with the largest horns generally prove themselves most dominant. 

Water.

Water is the most limiting factor for bighorn populations and is in short supply on much of the refuge. For this reason, over 30 springs have been improved and 30 guzzlers developed. Guzzlers, or rain catchments, collect precipitation and deliver it to storage tanks that fill a small drinking trough. The improvement and careful placement of water sources dramatically helps bighorn populations. More widespread distribution of water lowers competition for water and forage and reduces vulnerability to predators and disease.


IMAGE 2 of 2: Man putting a radio collar on a bighorn

DESCRIBING: A medium, square photograph. 

DESCRIPTION:

This almost square photo takes up two thirds of the bottom of the page. It shows a bighorn sheep with very large horns that curl almost in a full circle. The animal’s face is covered by a bright yellow mask and the body is wrapped in an orange garment. He is lying on a table beneath a portable canopy. Two men grasp the horns to hold the animal and lift the head while a third man attaches a radio collar around the sheep’s neck.

CAPTION: Trapping and GPS Telemetry

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT: 

In order to better manage the bighorn sheep population, animals are occasionally captured and relocated. At times, bighorn sheep are trapped with nets, then transported to release sites. The sheep are relocated to re-establish herds in former historic ranges, ensuring the survival of the desert bighorn. Often the trapped sheep are marked with ear tags and may be fitted with a GPS collar that enables tracking of individuals to determine seasonal movements. 

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IMAGE, CHART AND TEXT: Life zones

IMAGE 1 of 2: Life zone chart

DESCRIBING: A small, horizontal chart.

DESCRIPTION:

A rectangular diagram of seven plant life zones and their relationship to elevation, rainfall, and temperature. At its center is a mountain slope diagonally rising from the lower right corner to the upper left corner. Along the slope are seven ascending life zones in order from the hottest and driest at a low elevation (2,000 feet) to the wettest and coolest at the highest elevation (10,000 feet). The lowest, hottest, and driest life zones are Saltbrush and Creosote Bush. Mid slope are Joshua Tree and Blackbrush life zones.The cooler, wetter life zones up slope are Pinyon-Juniper and Pine Fir. At the mountain peak is the Bristlecone life zone at the lowest temperature and highest elevation. Each plant is depicted with a simple black drawing of an outline of its basic shape. The Saltbrush and Creosote Bush are depicted as relatively short plants with multiple scraggly stems. The Joshua Tree looks like a tripod standing on its head and covered in spikes. The Blackbrush looks like a spiny tortoise shell. The Pinyon Juniper is represented as a stout, scruffy tree. The Pine Fir is shown as a tall, slim tree respectively. At the top of the slope the Bristlecone is depicted as a tree with a crooked trunk and a spreading crown.

IMAGE 2 of 2: Cactus flowers

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical photograph. 

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of scarlet, cup shaped flowers blossoming out of a thicket of overlapping white cactus spines. The flowers are a picket fence of dozens of narrow, vertically-oriented red petals with a circle of short green and yellow pistils in the center.

CREDIT: Bob Goodman

RELATED TEXT:

The wide range of elevation and rainfall on the Desert NWR has created a great diversity of flora and fauna. Vegetation and associated wildlife depends on soil type, seasonal moisture, temperature, and elevation. These life zones change markedly with elevation. Seven distinct plant communities are recognized. Over 500 species of plants have been identified in plant communities or zones varying from saltbrush on the valley floors to ponderosa pine, white fir and bristlecone pines at the highest elevations. The boundaries between these zones are seldom sharp. The lower communities extend upward on warm south facing slopes and the higher communities descend down slope on cooler or moister sites.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Plant communities


DESCRIBING: A vertical column of small, square photographs. Each of the photographs illustrates a different life zone that is described in the text. 


IMAGE 1 of 8: Bristlecone pine

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a thick, twisted Bristlecone Pine set against a bright blue sky. It is almost bald of needles and missing half its bark. The tree grows atop a mountain ridge of white rock and is surrounded by tall, straight and slender pines with thick crowns of needles.

CREDIT: David Charlet

RELATED TEXT: 

Bristlecone pine. Near 10,000 feet, where the growing seasons are the shortest, the only trees surviving the extreme conditions are the bristlecone pines. These very long lived trees are found in the Sheep Mountain Range. 


IMAGE 2 of 8: Pine fir forest

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a forest of tall, straight pine and fir trees before a cloudy sky.  Beneath them is a dry, dusty understory with little vegetation.

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT: 

Pine-fir forest. At elevations of approximately 7,500 feet to 9,000 feet, where snow and rain linger, ponderosa pine and white fir are dominant. They form well developed, nearly closed canopy forests.


IMAGE 3 of 8: Pinyon juniper woodland

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a dry, dusty mountain ridge with dozens of short, bushy juniper and pinyon trees dispersed several meters apart. Above them is a blue sky; below them is a patchwork of short, round shrubs.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT:

Pinyon juniper woodland. This open canopy forest occurs from approximately 6000 feet to 7500 feet where precipitation may be 10 to 15 inches per year, much of which is received as snow. Utah juniper and single leaf pinyon pine dominate this life zone, which exists between brush and true forest.


IMAGE 4 of 8: Blackbrush community

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a desert landscape with rocky soil supporting dark grey, low lying shrubs scattered across the foreground. Interspersed are taller plants called yuccas which resemble the top of a pineapple but 6 times larger. A tall, bare, striped mountain summit and blue sky are in the distant background. 

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT:

Blackbrush community. This community dominated by blackbrush is found at 4200 feet to 6000 feet on steep rolling hills. Soils are typically shallow. Various yucca species, including Joshua tree, Mormon tea and cholla cactus, are common associates.


IMAGE 5 of 8: Joshua tree woodland

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of tall, straight, slender, Joshua trees with multiple spreading branches and tufts of green spiny leaves. The trucks appear to be covered with dense bristles. On the horizon is a long, low mountain ridge and a deep blue sky.

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT:

Joshua tree woodland. Joshua trees may seem to dominate this habitat, but the bulk of plant material consists of a variety of widely spaced shrubs known as the understory. Joshua trees are commonly found between 3000 feet to 5000 feet elevations.


IMAGE 6 of 8: Creosote brush community

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a relatively flat, rocky desert floor with tall mountains on the distant horizon. The landscape is checkered with low lying green shrubs punctuated by several larger, taller creosote bushes freckled with tiny yellow flowers.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT:

Creosote brush community. This open scrubland is defined by the creosote bush, which grows in widely spaced patterns. Other common species include yucca, Mormon tea, bursage and range ratney. This community is found in elevations of 2400 feet to 3600 feet and receives less than 5 inches of rain.

IMAGE 7 of 8: Saltbrush community

DESCRIPTION:

A photograph of a relatively flat, tan, desert floor before a silhouette of a distant dark blue mountain and hazy blue sky. Low growing shrubs grow widely spaced over the foreground. They are marked by multiple dead branches close to the ground and upper branches supporting small, close growing leaves.  

CREDIT: Hermi Hiatt

RELATED TEXT:

Saltbrush community. The saltbrush community predominates certain basins on the valley floors, particularly those with low nocturnal temperatures and very high soil salinity. A good example of this community can be found between the Corn Creek Visitor Center and Highway 95.


IMAGE 8 of 8: Plant illustration

Describing: A small, cut-out illustration. 

DESCRIPTION:

A brown line drawing of tall, spiny flowering yucca plants and short circular flowering blackbrush. The soil has little definition and is suggested by just a few lines at the base of the plants.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer


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IMAGES AND TEXT: Desert annual flowers

IMAGES AND TEXT: Desert annual flowers section image

DESCRIBING: A column of small, square photographs that illustrate elements of the page's text. 

IMAGE 1 of 5: Mojave desert

DESCRIPTION:

A horizontal photo shows a view of a rocky slope with an abundance of wildflowers in bloom. Spiky clumps of desert plants are interspersed with the more fragile flowers. In the far distance, a mountain range dominates, with a mass of white clouds forming above in the light blue sky.

CREDIT: USFWS

RELATED TEXT:

The Mojave desert is known for its displays of spring and summer wildflowers, which are spectacular in years of abundant winter rainfall. These desert annuals avoid the heat and drought by surviving as seeds in the soil, often for decades, until favorable conditions occur. When environmental conditions are right they quickly sprout, flower and drop seed, compressing their lives into a very brief time period.

IMAGE 2 of 5: Globemallow

DESCRIPTION:

A closeup photograph of a section of a globemallow plant. Background is blurry. The stem stretches horizontally across the photograph. It is light yellow green. Along it are tightly packed bright orange flowers. Their petals form small cups each less than one-inch in diameter with yellow stamens and pistils in the center.

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS

RELATED TEXT:

Globemallow. This common member of the mallow family has showy, scarlet to peach flowers. The foliage is a dusty gray green covered with dense, short, shiny hairs. Ancient people used the globemallow as a treatment for eye infection, as well as, the source of a tea used as a hair conditioner and a treatment for sore throats.


IMAGE 3 of 5: Palmer's Penstemon

DESCRIPTION:

A closeup photograph of a Palmer’s penstemon bloom. The main stem rises vertically through the photo and four pale green buds frame a light pink bloom. It is a snapdragon like flower. Dark lines stripe the bottom petals and yellow stamens poke out from under the top hood of petals.

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS

RELATED TEXT:

Palmer's Penstemon. Palmer’s penstemon is a large multi stemmed perennial with fragrant showy pale pink or lavender flowers. The leaves of this plant were used by Native Americans to numb the pain of a sore tooth.


IMAGE 4 of 5: Indian Paintbrush

DESCRIPTION:

The brilliant red of the tops of this plant dominate the square photo, standing out against the silvery-green of a short bush through which the Indian paintbrush rises. It has narrow, grey green leave alternating up the straight stems. 

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT:

Indian Paintbrush. Indian paintbrush derives its name from the top leaves or bracts that look as though they have been dipped in vivid, scarlet paint. This partially parasitic species is often found growing in or near shrubs. Their roots tap into these host plants enabling the paintbrush to obtain much of its food and moisture from them.

IMAGE 5 of 5: Mojave Yucca

DESCRIPTION:

A square photo of a spiky plant, lifting a clump of pointed, upright leaves that look like the  top of a pineapple. Its trunk is obscured by the still-attached dead leaves, which hang down like a skirt.

CREDIT: Amy Sprunger. USFWS

RELATED TEXT:

Mojave Yucca. All yucca species have evolved a special relationship with the yucca moth. The female moth enters the flower gathering pollen into a tiny ball and then flies to another flower and pollinates it. She then lays her eggs in the ovary of the flower and her young develop there with an assured food source of developing fruit. One cannot exist without the other.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Birds

IMAGE 1 of 3: Golden Eagle

DESCRIBING: Color photograph of a golden eagle in close up, portrait style.

DESCRIPTION:

Looming above the camera from the waist up, is a golden eagle against the backdrop of a deep blue sky. The eagle sports an intimidating large hooked beak, which glistens brightly in the harsh sunlight. Its jet black eye seems to pierce through the photo as it stares at something in the distance. A curve of a strong black wing is slightly raised in front of its body. Speckles of white feathers dot its otherwise black and deep brown chest. Its head is smooth and rounded, also a dark brown.

CAPTION: Golden Eagle

CREDIT: Bob Goodman

RELATED TEXT:

The wide variety of vegetation communities in the Desert NWR provides an ideal habitat for many birds. Over 320 species have been identified within its boundaries.

IMAGE 2 of 3: Roadrunner

DESCRIBING: A small, vertical color photograph.

DESCRIPTION:

The roadrunner stands alert, intently staring toward something in the distance. An awkwardly shaped but beautifully colored bird, it stands upright on grassy desert soil facing away from the viewer with its long black beak agape and a long stiff tail jutting down toward the ground. It appears to either pant or call into the distance. Above its head, it raises a black crown of feathers in a bold mohawk. A light blue patch of skin trails behind a small but alert yellow eye, which is wide open and energetic.

CAPTION: Roadrunner

CREDIT: Gary Kramer

RELATED TEXT:

Despite the hot, dry environment of the lower desert, many species have adapted well to it. Species commonly seen include the black throated sparrow, sage sparrow, loggerhead shrike, Cooper’s hawk, and the greater roadrunner.

The roadrunner is a ground dwelling bird built for speed with a sleek body and long legs. It is able to fly short distances, but prefers to run, reaching speeds of 30 miles per hour.

IMAGE 3 of 3: Pinion Jay

DESCRIBING: A small, square photograph. 

DESCRIPTION:

Adorned in various shades of blue, a Pinion Jay stands on a broken branch. Its two feet loosely grip its perch. Its beak is short and pointed. A small eye sits like a round black bead against its textured head. On its chest, a few feathers ruffle from the breeze. The jay is about the size of a person’s hand. The background is a blurry mix of tans and greens from the desert landscape.

CAPTION: Pinion Jay

CREDIT: Dave Menke

RELATED TEXT: 

In the higher pinyon juniper woodlands, species such as bushtit, spotted towhee, broad tailed hummingbird and pinyon jay are common. The pinyon jay is a highly gregarious bird that is well known for collecting pinyon pine seeds and transporting them to communal caching areas where they store them in the ground for later use. 

The high elevation pine forests are home to the olive sided flycatcher, Clark’s nutcracker, white breasted nuthatch and the red naped sapsucker. This woodpecker drills parallel rows of small holes in live trees, then returns later to feed on the sap and trapped insects.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Mammals

DESCRIBING: A column of small, square photographs. 

IMAGE 1 of 4: Mountain Lion

DESCRIPTION:

A full, almost fat, tawny colored mountain lion fills the frame of the photograph with just a peek of the desert showing around it. Lying on scattered snow and deep underbrush, its two paws are tucked under its chest. It has an inquisitive expression on its face. Light amber colored eyes look upward to the left, while fluffy ears above its head are cocked outward to both sides. Prominent on its face are a generous number of long white whiskers.

CAPTION: Mountain Lion. 

CREDIT: Bob Goodman

RELATED TEXT:

The Desert NWR, with its great diversity of habitat types, is home to 52 species of mammals. Species found in the higher pine forests include cliff chipmunk, spotted skunk, long legged myotis bat and, occasionally, ringtailed cat. In the brushy areas of the middle elevations, various species of bats along with cottontail rabbits, ground squirrels, and coyotes are commonly found. Mountain lions grow to 6-7' long, including the tail, and weigh up to 130 pounds. At Desert, they have a large home range due to the scarcity of their favorite prey, the mule deer.

IMAGE 2 of 4: Kit Fox

DESCRIPTION:

Looking into the camera, a kit fox seems to have stopped mid stride to pose. Its full body is shown from the side, taking up most of the frame. Its bulbous ears are facing forward along with small kitten like eyes and a delicate nose. It is staring straight at us. The fur on its body is downy and a soft sand color which is partially lit by the sun. A full and bushy tail the size of its body dangles behind it. Dry tan grasses, scattered snow, and small desert pebbles speckle the landscape in both shadow and sunlight.

CAPTION: Kit Fox. 

CREDIT: Bob Goodman

RELATED TEXT:

The low desert communities provide habitat for many mammals well adapted to the hot, dry climate, such as the kit fox. This small nocturnal fox, about the size of a domestic cat, has exceptionally large ears. The feet are heavily furred which gives them good support on the deep sandy soils of their desert habitat. Their range closely coincides with their favorite prey, the kangaroo rat. The nocturnal kangaroo rat spends the day in its burrow, plugging the entrance with soil to keep the interior cool. This desert dweller never needs to drink water, getting all the water it needs from seeds. Also found in this harsh community is the California myotis (bat), antelope ground squirrel, and the blacktail jackrabbit.

IMAGE 3 of 4: Antelope Ground Squirrel

DESCRIPTION:

The photo shows two small ground squirrels nose to nose. Each of their bodies extend away in opposite directions. Unlike most squirrels, the tail of each ground squirrel is notably short and coarse, perhaps the size of a ring finger. The squirrels have dark black and brown flecked fur, with a narrow white stripe running from shoulder to tail. Their heads are small with prominent black almond shaped eyes on the side. Behind them grows a desert shrub among grasses and gravel, each in neutral desert shades.

CAPTION: Antelope Ground Squirrel. 

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

IMAGE 4 of 4: Coyote

DESCRIPTION:

A grown coyote walks across a dry brushy desert steppe in broad daylight. The coyote holds its head low, with stand up ears and a pointed muzzle jutting outward. Its color is a mottled mixture of browns and tans with a bit of auburn, especially on its legs. Its blended fur mimics the color palette of the surrounding sagebrush. Even the gold inflection of sunlight glowing on the coyote’s head matches golden yellow desert wildflowers blooming in the background.

CAPTION: Coyote. 

CREDIT: Rod Colvin. USFWS.

RELATED TEXT: 

Some species, such as coyote, gray fox, bobcat, and mule deer, are found in many life zones. The highly adaptable coyote is similar in size and appearance to a medium sized, slender dog. It scavenges carrion and may eat berries and plant material, in addition to hunting small mammals, reptiles, and occasionally birds.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Reptiles and amphibians

DESCRIBING: A column of small, horizontal photographs that illustrate related text.

IMAGE 1 of 5: Rattlesnake

DESCRIPTION:

A winding diamondback rattlesnake is tucked within a thick mass of shadowy tan vegetation. The rattlesnake’s head coils in strike-pose over a spiraling body that ends in a striped tail and dangling rattle.

CAPTION: Rattlesnake.

CREDIT: Bob Goodman

RELATED TEXT:

Over 35 reptiles, including snakes, lizards, and tortoises, as well as 4 amphibians have been identified in the Desert NWR and are present in all but the coldest life zones. Reptiles found include the chuckwalla, horned lizard (also known as horned toad), Mojave rattlesnake, western king snake, banded gecko and the federally protected Mojave desert tortoise. The desert tortoise feeds on forbs, grasses, and flowers that provide much of their necessary water. Tortoises spend most of their lives underground in burrows that may be up to 30 feet long. Tortoises can live 75 to 100 years and grow to 15 inches in length.

IMAGE 2 of 5: Desert Tortoise

DESCRIPTION:

A tortoise walks on thick, bump covered legs. The tortoise’s front left leg stretches forward toward the camera as the tortoise twists its neck and glances over its right shoulder. Its shell matches the gray gravel below it.

CAPTION: Desert Tortoise.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT: 

The desert tortoise is listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.


IMAGE 3 of 5: Chuckwalla

DESCRIPTION:

A close-up focused on a light colored lizard from the torso upwards. Fine bumps texture its skin. The lizard pushes its chest up and over a rock with its front legs, black eyes slightly closed, and skin on the chest sagging. 

CAPTION: Chuckwalla.

CREDIT: Gary Kramer

RELATED TEXT:

The chuckwalla is a large vegetarian lizard found in areas of rocky outcroppings. It feeds on buds, flowers, and fruits of a variety of plants. When alarmed the chuckwalla will retreat to safety in a rock crevice and distend its body by gulping air, thus wedging itself firmly in place and making it difficult for a predator to capture it. Native Americans occasionally used them for food.

IMAGE 4 of 5: Collared Lizard

DESCRIPTION:

A close-up of a lizard in profile. Small white spots cover its gray body and a collar is formed by black and white stripes looped around its neck. The lizard lays on its chest on a light-colored rock, limbs extended, head elevated and attentively forward.

CAPTION: Collared Lizard.

CREDIT: Bob Goodman

RELATED TEXT:

Colorful collared lizards are found on rocky slopes and rock strewn alluvial fans (bajadas). These lizards have powerful jaws and often hunt grasshoppers, cicadas, moths, wasps, and small lizards by sight, seizing their prey with a quick rush. The collared lizard often runs on its back legs when moving at high speeds.

IMAGE 5 of 5: Amphibians. Woodhouse's Toad 

DESCRIPTION:

A close up of a dark brown toad on a glimmering orange rock. The toad looks toward the lower right corner of the image. A light line stretches down its spine from the nostrils to the rear. The back of the toad is covered in round bumps which glisten in the sunlight.

CAPTION: Woodhouse's Toad. 

CREDIT: Gary Stoltz

RELATED TEXT:

Although temperatures soar in areas of direct sun, in the immediate vicinity of shaded, moist areas around springs and seeps, moderate temperatures prevail. Relict leopard frogs and Woodhouse’s toads can be found at Corn Creek.

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IMAGES AND TEXT: Rule and regulations

IMAGES AND TEXT: Rule and regulations section image

DESCRIBING: A column of small, square illustrations with corresponding text. 

NOTE: This is a partial list of common rules and regulations. Previously dated brochures may contain outdated regulations. Please contact the refuge office with specific questions.


IMAGE 1 of 17: Vehicular Travel

DESCRIPTION:

A car icon

CAPTION: Vehicular Travel.

RELATED TEXT:

All motorized vehicles must be licensed and registered for highway use. They are permitted only on designated named roads as shown on the map. Vehicular travel on service roads is prohibited. Currently in Nevada, OHVs cannot be licensed and registered for highway use and therefore are generally not permitted on the refuge. Roads are rough, unimproved and may be impassable for passenger cars. They are occasionally closed for maintenance or rehabilitation. Road closed signs are posted for your safety. All vehicles must be parked within 50 feet of a designated road in previously disturbed areas or in designated pullouts.


IMAGE 2 of 17: Camping

DESCRIPTION:

A tent icon

CAPTION: Camping. 

RELATED TEXT:

Camping is permitted year round. A campsite on the refuge may be occupied for a maximum of 14 consecutive days. The occupants must then vacate the refuge for 14 consecutive days before camping again. Camping within 100 yards of a water source, whether natural or manmade, is prohibited.


IMAGE 3 of 17: Fires

DESCRIPTION:

A campfire icon

CAPTION: Fires.

RELATED TEXT:

Campfires are permitted except during periods of high fire danger. Campfires are allowed all year at the Desert Pass campground in provided fire rings only. Visitors are required to bring their own firewood.


IMAGE 4 of 17: Pets

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a person with a leashed dog

CAPTION: Pets. 

RELATED TEXT:

All pets on the Desert NWR must be leashed at all times. Pet feces must be collected by the owner and disposed of properly.


IMAGE 5 of 17: Trash

DESCRIPTION:

A trash can icon

CAPTION: Trash. 

RELATED TEXT:

Help keep your refuge beautiful - pack it in, pack it out. Dumpsters are not available. Littering and dumping are prohibited.


IMAGE 6 of 17: Animal and plant life

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a hand holding a flower. It is crossed out.

CAPTION: Animal and plant life. 

RELATED TEXT:

All wildlife, plants, and minerals are protected. The collection, possession, disturbance, injury, removal, or transportation of natural resources is prohibited.


IMAGE 7 of 17: Hunting

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a person aiming a rifle

CAPTION: Hunting. 

RELATED TEXT:

Hunting of Desert bighorn sheep is permitted with a valid state tag. No hunting is allowed for any other species, including upland game and varmints. 


IMAGE 8 of 17: Firearms

DESCRIPTION:

A rifle icon

CAPTION: Firearms. 


IMAGE 9 of 17: Other weapons

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a person using a bow and arrow. It is crossed out

CAPTION: Other weapons.

RELATED TEXT:

Firearms may be carried and possessed on the refuge. Firearms may not be discharged except while lawfully hunting. Target shooting is prohibited. The possession or use of other weapons, including, but not limited to, large knives and archery equipment, is prohibited. No weapons of any kind are permitted inside the Visitor Center.


IMAGE 10 of 17: Fireworks

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a firecracker. It is crossed out.

CAPTION: Fireworks. 

RELATED TEXT:

The possession and use of fireworks or explosives is prohibited.


IMAGE 11 of 17: Drones

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a drone crossed out

CAPTION: Drone.

RELATED TEXT:

Drones are not permitted anywhere on the refuge.


IMAGE 12 of 17: Hiking areas

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a hiker

CAPTION: Hiking areas. 


IMAGE 13 of 17: Horseback riding areas

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a horseback rider

CAPTION: Horseback riding areas.

RELATED TEXT:

The entire Desert NWR (excluding the portion overlain by Nevada Test and Training Range) is open to horseback riding and cross country hiking. Water is scarce and critical to wildlife. Horseback riders must carry feed and water for their stock. All feed must be certified weed free in order to protect native desert plants.


IMAGE 14 of 17: Fossil 

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of an arrow. It is crossed out.

CAPTION: Cultural resources.


IMAGE 15 of 17: Rock

DESCRIPTION:

An icon of a rock. It is crossed out.

CAPTION: Cultural resources. 

RELATED TEXT:

Damaging rock writing or disturbing archeological sites is a violation of federal law. Removing fossils or objects of antiquity is not allowed.


IMAGE 16 of 17: Closed sign

DESCRIPTION:

rectangular sign containing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service logo and reads "Area beyond this sign closed." 


IMAGE 17 of 17: Danger sign

A rectangular road sign reads "Danger, Keep Out. Bombing and gunnery range. U.S. Air Force."

RELATED TEXT:

The western half of the Desert NWR is used by the U.S. Air Force’s Nevada Test and Training Range as a bombing, gunnery and aerial warfare training facility. There may be unexploded, live ordinance in this area. All public access into this area is prohibited by federal law.

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IMAGE AND TEXT: Safety tips for desert

IMAGE AND TEXT: Safety tips for desert section image

DESCRIBING: A small, line drawing illustration. 

DESCRIPTION:

A simple, brown and white line drawing of a bighorn sheep grazing. To its left, a large boulder features three simple rock writings of bighorn sheep. In front of this large boulder are a few other smaller rocks surrounded by desert grasses and spiny yucca plants.

CREDIT: Sharon Schafer

RELATED TEXT:

Be Prepared. Travel through the backcountry requires preparation to ensure a safe, enjoyable trip. Plan your trip carefully. Cellphone and radio coverage are limited in this area. Don’t travel or hike alone! Let someone know your travel plans, schedule, and the general area you will be in. Stick to your plan and don’t forget to report your return. 

No fuel or service is available within the Desert NWR.

Carry Water – No water is available on the Desert NWR. Always bring plenty of water − don’t ration it. A person requires at least one gallon of water per day in the summer heat.

Be Ready For Heat – Protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat, light colored clothing, and sunscreen. Prevent exhaustion by pacing yourself and avoiding extreme midday heat.

Weather – Elevation ranges from 2,400 feet to 10,000 feet. Climate varies widely and in summer temperatures may reach 117 degrees Fahrenheit - 47 degrees Celsius. Days may be hot and the nights may be cold. Snow occurs almost every winter in the Sheep Range with occasional sub zero temperatures and may result in road closures. It is smart to always dress in layers and obtain a current weather forecast. Flash floods can form in a matter of minutes. Never camp or park your vehicle in a dry wash or stream bed.

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IMAGES, MAP, TEXT: Visit nearby refuges

IMAGES, MAP, TEXT: Visit nearby refuges section image

DESCRIBING: A medium, square map with a column of small, horizontal photographs beneath it. 

IMAGE 1 of 4: Map

DESCRIPTION:

A square map displays the location of Desert National Wildlife Refuge within Southern Nevada. Arizona is to the east, with the blue of Lake Mead forming much of the boundary. California is to the west. The refuge is shaped like a rectangle with the bottom left corner cutoff. The Las Vegas area borders the southern tip of the refuge; Highway 93 borders the entire eastern side; and Highway 95 borders the west side of the refuge. An inset map in the lower left corner displays an outline of the entire state of Nevada and marks the location of the refuge in the lower fifth of the state.

The map also shows the road system to access three nearby wildlife refuges by motor vehicle. Ash Meadows NWR is southwest of Desert NWR. To access Ash Meadows head north from Las Vegas on Highway 95 and south on Highway 373.

Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge is to the east of Desert NWR and is located off Interstate 15. Pahranagat NWR is just north of Desert NWR and on the west side of Highway 93.

IMAGE 2 of 4: Blue fish

DESCRIPTION:

A closeup photograph of a Devil’s Hole pupfish, a sapphire blue fish under two inches in length. It is nibbling on green algae attached to small rocks. It is shown head forward and turned slightly to the left. Its pectoral fins are playfully extended out on either side of the body and its tail is curved to the left behind it.

CREDIT: R. Colvin/USFWS

RELATED TEXT:

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Admire the beauty of over 23,000 acres of spring fed wetlands and alkaline desert uplands. Walk the Crystal Springs boardwalk to learn about some of the 26 species of plants and animals found here and nowhere else in the world — 12 of which are threatened or endangered. Watch wildlife at Point of Rocks or visit the historic Longstreet cabin. 775-372-5435

IMAGE 3 of 4: Grey fish

DESCRIPTION:

A closeup photo of the Moapa dace. It is a side view of this small fish against a stand of grass like aquatic vegetation. Its body goes from light tan on the bottom to medium brown on top and is marked with a thin silvery stripe running down the length of its body, with a small black spot at the base of the tail.

RELATED TEXT:

Moapa Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Warm water springs from the hillsides give life to the Moapa Valley. Refuge staff and their partners work to restore this fragile habitat for the endangered Moapa dace. The refuge is open Labor Day through Memorial Day. 77-725-3417

IMAGE 4 of 4: Red ducks

DESCRIPTION:

A photo of a pair of cinnamon teal, a common duck. They are shown swimming next to each other from left to right in the image. The male, on the left, is a dark cinnamon brown with a bright red eye. The female, on the right, is less showy and has drab plumage and a white eye ring. They are approximately the same size and shape.

RELATED TEXT:

Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. Pahranagat’s shimmering lakes form where the Mojave and Great Basin deserts meet, offering a resting spot for migratory birds and waterfowl. Enjoy this desert oasis while camping, fishing, hunting, or observing wildlife. 775-725-3417

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MAP AND TEXT: Desert NWR Map

MAP AND TEXT: Desert NWR Map section image

DESCRIBING: A large map that spreads across two pages of the brochure. 

DESCRIPTION:

Overview: A color map of Desert National Wildlife Refuge including its regulatory boundaries, geographic features, roads, visitor center, and campground. It is oriented to standard north. The refuge boundary is marked by a solid red line.

Major Roads: Highway 93 largely parallels the east side of the refuge. Highway 95 runs along the southwest and west boundary. A small portion of Interstate 15 runs near the southeastern tip of the refuge. None of the highways or interstate run through the refuge.

Refuge Access and Facilities: Visitors may access the refuge via Corn Creek Road and the Corn Creek Visitor Center. The entrance is located on the southwestern boundary of the refuge, 25 miles to the northwest of Las Vegas via Highway 95. Corn Creek Road leaves Highway 95 to the east and crosses through Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument (denoted by bright green on the map). The paved entrance road to the refuge ends at the Corn Creek Visitor Center. From there, four-wheel drive vehicles can access two dirt roads: Alamo Road, Mormon Well Road, and their side roads. The Desert Pass campground can be found up Mormon Well Road, approximately 25 miles northeast of the Corn Creek Visitor Center.

Alamo Road heads north through the center of the refuge on the west side of the Sheep Mountain Range and exits at the north boundary through Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge to Highway 93. Side roads off of Alamo lead east to the Sheep Mountains. From South to North, they are Joe May, Cow Camp, Hidden Forest, White Rock, Dead Horse, and Cabin Springs Road. After Cabin Springs, the road passes through the Desert Dry Lake bed and onward to Pahranagat refuge.

Mormon Well Road heads northeast from Corn Creek and exits the eastern boundary of the park at Highway 93. Side roads head west to the eastern side of the Sheep Range. From North to South they are Pine Nut and Sawmill Roads.

Gass Peak Road is approximately five miles up Mormon Well road on the right side. It travels southeast and cuts through the Las Vegas Range and past the base of Gass Peak (6,943 feet). It terminates at the southern refuge boundary. There is no outlet.

Prohibited Areas: The Nevada Test and Training Range occupies the entire western half of the refuge and is denoted by a blue dashed line. Entry to the Nevada Test and Training Range is prohibited. The refuge is open to public access from Alamo Road eastward.

Geographical Features. A series of six mountain ranges run north to south, separated by valleys and some dry lakes. The refuge is colored dark tan except for the dry lakes which are light tan, and the Sheep Range which is shaded green. The Sheep Range is the tallest and longest mountain range within the refuge, reaching 9,920 feet at Hayford Peak far above Hidden Forest Road.

RELATED TEXT:

Where do I start? The major access point to the Desert NWR is through Corn Creek, which can be reached by travelling north on U.S. Highway 95 approximately 25 miles from downtown Las Vegas. A brown sign on the right side of the highway marks the 4-mile paved road into Corn Creek.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

The Corn Creek Visitor Center at Desert National Wildlife Refuge has a range of accessible facilities. 

For visitors with physical impairments, the facility has accessible bathrooms, drinking fountains, information desk, exhibit space and automatic entry doors. There is also approximately  one mile of accessible trail on the Corn Creek trail system behind the building.     

Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available to all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability. Dial 711 for a free connection to the State relay service for TTY and voice calls to and from people with hearing and speech disabilities. For more information or to address accessibility needs, please contact the Refuge staff at 702-515-5453, or the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Equal Opportunity, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20240

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OVERVIEW: More information

Desert National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 560 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. To learn more visit, w w w dot f w s dot gov forward slash refuges

ADDRESS: one six zero zero one Corn Creek Road. Las Vegas, NV eight nine one two four. 

PHONE: Seven Zero two. eight seven nine. six one one zero

WEBSITE: w w w dot f w s dot gov forward slash refuge forward slash desert 

OTHER INFORMATION:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: w w w dot f w s dot gov

Federal Relay: 1 800 eight seven seven eight three three nine. Voice and T. T. Y.

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