Annual Loon Festival to be at Walker Lake
By Don Quilici
The annual Walker Lake Loon Festival will be held at Sportsman’s Beach at Walker Lake on Saturday, April 16.
Walker Lake is a large desert lake which is located about 15 miles north of Hawthorne.
To reach the lake from the Carson City area, take U.S. 50 east to Silver Springs.
At Silver Springs, take Alt. U.S. 95 south to Schurz, via Yerington or the Mason Valley Cutoff.
At Schurz, take U.S. 95 south to the lake.
At the lake, look for the highway sign leading to Sportsmen’s Beach.
This trip will be about a two-hour drive, one-way, from Carson City.
The Loon Festival will feature boat tours, presentations, food, prizes and fun.
At this time of the year, Walker Lake makes a perfect resting spot for the loons to feed, rest and prepare for their journey back north to Canada.
The Nevada Department of Wildlife, the Mineral County Search and Rescue Unit and the Walker Lake Working Group will offer the public the chance to get a closer look at the many loons with free barge or boat rides.
Those sightseeing rides will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until about 2 p.m.
Lunch will be available for purchase on the beach.
Also, during the day, the public can listen to various, free, wildlife presentations.
A fund-raising raffle will be held in the afternoon.
There are an estimated 1,400 loons that use Walker Lake as an important stop on their migrations in the spring and fall of each year.
Although it was virtually unknown to bird experts until some years ago, the concentration of loons at Walker Lake is the largest of any on any inland lake in all of North America.
The festival has had great success in the past with many visitors from Nevada, California and other areas stopping to partake in the festivities.
Other unique birds that inhabit the lake at this time of the year include such species as American White Pelicans, Grebes, Cormorants, Coots, plus ducks and geese.
Those persons attending the festival are encouraged to bring their binoculars.
Walker Lake contains two types of fish: The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and its prey species, the Tui Chub.
The annual Loon Festival is funded, in part, by the Nevada Commission on Tourism.
For information, call (775) 945-8243 or visit the Walker Lake Working Group website at http://www.walkerlake.org.