• Bristlecone Pine

    Great Basin

    National Park Nevada

There are park alerts in effect.
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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 later in the week is expected and conditions may improve. Please check back. 9/29/2014

  • 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.

Fish

Fish in the Desert?
Great Basin National Park is home to four native fish species: Bonneville cutthroat trout, mottled sculpin, redside shiner, and speckled dace. It also houses four non-native species: Lahonton cutthroat, rainbow, brook and brown trout. These were stocked in the lakes and streams of the South Snake Range until 1986.

The native fish came from historic Lake Bonneville, which covered the bottom of Snake Valley to the east of the park thousands of years ago. This lake, which was the size of today’s Lake Michigan, supported several fish species. At the end of the Ice Age, the climate gradually warmed, and the lake started drying up, eventually shrinking down to the size of the current Great Salt Lake. Some of the fish found refuge in the streams coming down from the mountains and adapted to life in flowing waters.

The fish in these streams survived for thousands of years through droughts, fire, and other events, but eventually they encountered problems. When early settlers and miners came, they wanted to catch fish they were familiar with, so they stocked the streams and lakes with non-native fish. The native fish were not able to handle the extra competition, and in some cases hybridization and predation of these different species, and most of them disappeared. Since the mountains streams are isolated from each other, the native fish could not swim to a different stream and find a new home.

 
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout
NPS PHOTO
 

In 1999, the park began a program to reintroduce native Bonneville cutthroat trout, which now inhabit five of the six streams where they once lived. In 2005, due to the success of the Bonneville cutthroat trout reintroduction program, the park instituted a program to complete the fish assemblage in selected streams. Mottled sculpin, speckled dace, and redside shiner were reintroduced into lower Strawberry and South Fork Big Wash Creeks. Monitoring over the next years will allow park staff to determine the outcome of this innovative project.

Non-native fish populations are also monitored periodically and continue to thrive with populations often estimated at about 2,000 fish per mile.

 

 

Did You Know?

Lack of light pollution, better night sky.

Great Basin National Park has a annual Astronomy Festival each September to celebrate its dark skies.