• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

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  • Wheeler Peak Summit Trail Closed

    A small smoldering fire near the trail has caused the closure of the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail. park staff is observing the fire. Check back here to get an update whne the trail will open. Alpine Lakes Loop and Bristlecone Trail are open. More »

  • Road Work at Great Basin National Park

    Road work will begin in Upper Lehman and Wheeler Peak Campgrounds. Campgrounds will be open but may be noisy and have large vehicles on the roads. The Scenic Drive is open with up to 15 min delays due to road work. Click more for details. Updated 9/9/14 More »

  • Travel Not Recommended - Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive Above 8,000 Feet

    Snow and ice may make travel on Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive unsafe, travel is not recommended at this time. Warmer weather over the weekend is expected and conditions may improve. 10/1/2014

  • Snake Creek Road and Campsites Closed

    The Snake Creek Road will be closed from the park boundary into the park to begin work on campsites, trails and restroom improvements. Work will continue until snow closes the project. Work will resume in Spring 2015.

Endemic Animals

Endemic animals are special because they are found in only one location on the planet, and nowhere else. Great Basin National Park is home to several endemic plant and animal species. The "sky island" geography of the Great Basin region lends itself to large numbers of highly specialized species.

Mountain ranges are separated from other mountains by "seas" of desert, across which plant and animal migration is difficult due to the dramatic differences in environment between the high elevations and the basins below. Each mountain range behaves much like an island, where species are trapped. They adapt and change within the very specific parameters of that one location.

Below is a list of animal species endemic to the Snake Range (home to Great Basin National Park) and to the Great Basin Region. This is not an exhaustive list of species endemic to the Great Basin Region, but includes only the species found in or near the park.

Species Endemic to the Snake Range

White Pine amphipod (Stygobromus albapinus)
A small freshwater shrimp, that was found in one of the park caves in 2011. It was recently described and named in Subterranean Biology. The White Pine amphipod (Stygobromus albapinus) is only known from Model Cave, and lead author and cave biologist Steve Taylor notes that it is probably found only in underground waterways within the Snake Range. This exciting discovery was made by park staff far back into the cave, which required over one-quarter mile of crawling through small, muddy passages each way.

Great Basin Cave Millipede (Idagona lehmanesis)
This millipede has only been found in two sites in Great Basin National Park: Model Cave and Water Trough Cave. It was first collected in 2006.

Model Cave Harvestman (Cyptobunus ungulatus ungulatus)
Currently, this close relative to the spider is only known to exist in Great Basin National Park. It was first found in Model Cave in 1971, and has since been found in other caves in the park.

Cave Basin Cave Pseudoscorpion (Microcreagris grandis)
The range for this species is in Great Basin National Park. It was first found in Lehman Caves in the late 1930s.

Lehman Caves Millipede (undescribed)
Collected in 2003 and 2006 from Lehman Caves, this insect is currently being described as a new species. It has been found only in Great Basin National Park.

Snake Creek Cave springtail (Arrhophilates sp.)
Endemic to Great Basin National Park.

Model Cave springtail (Arrhophilates sp.)
Endemic to Great Basin National Park

Species Endemic to the Great Basin Region
In addition to those listed above:

Toquerville Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis kolobensis)
Although fairly widespread throughout the eastern Great Basin, it occurs in only one drainage in the park. Its presence has been confirmed at two springs along Snake Creek.

Various other springtails of the genus Pyrgulopisis are also endemic.

Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis)
This rabbit is a true Great Basin native, with very limited distribution outside the physiographic region. It is a rare local species that is protected under Nevada state law, and listed by the state as at-risk of extinction or serious decline. Primary habitat is old growth big basin sagebrush. Loss of habitat from pinyon-juniper encroachment limits habitat areas in the park.

Did You Know?

non-native plant, cheatgrass

One of the major ecological threats to the sagebrush-dominated Great Basin ecosystem is the introduction and spread of dozens of species of non-native plants. The most important of these, cheatgrass (or downy brome) covers the largest area: 25 million acres, one-third of the area of the Great Basin.