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Ely District Office

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About the Complex


The 1,259,739-acre Pancake Complex is located approximately 30 miles west of Ely, Nevada, or 80 miles northeast of Tonopah, Nevada, within White Pine and Nye Counties.  The complex consists of the Sand Springs West and Pancake Herd Management Areas (HMAs), Jakes Wash Herd Area (HA) and Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (WHT).  The BLM Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office administers the Sand Springs West HMA.  The BLM Ely District Office administers the Pancake HMA and Jakes Wash HA.  The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Ely Ranger District administers the Monte Cristo WHT. 

The area is within the Great Basin geographical region, which is one of the largest deserts in the world.  The Great Basin physiographic region, characterized by a high, rolling plateau underlain by basalt flows covered with a thin loess and alluvial mantle. On many of the low hills and ridges that are scattered throughout the area, the soils are underlain by bedrock. Elevations within the Complex range from approximately 5,000 feet to 11,000 feet. Annual precipitation ranges from approximately 5 inches or less on some of the valley bottoms to 20 inches on the mountain peaks. Most of this precipitation comes during the winter and spring months in the form of snow, supplemented by localized thunderstorms during the summer months. Temperatures range from greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months to minus 20 degrees in the winter. The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species.

The area is also utilized by domestic livestock and numerous wildlife species. The boundaries between the Pancake and Sand Springs West HMAs; Jakes Wash HA and Monte Cristo WHT are not fenced nor do they have any natural boundaries. As a result, wild horses move regularly between the HA/HMAs and WHT for water and forage.

The Complex is dry with few perennial waters.  The majority of the limited water resources are small seeps and springs that are found mainly in the mountains.

Vegetative communities within the HA/HMAs and WHT are diverse with desert shrubs, sagebrush and grasses dominating the lower elevations and sagebrush, mountain shrubs, grass, pinion pine and juniper, and mountain mahogany dominating the benches and higher elevations.

Plant species dominating the lower elevations include Wyoming big sagebrush, low sagebrush, black sagebrush, winterfat, shadscale, budsage, sickle saltbush, black greasewood, rabbitbrush, Indian ricegrass, Sandburg bluegrass, bluebunch wheatgrass, bottlebrush squirreltail, needlegrass and assorted forb species.

Plant species dominating the higher elevations include Wyoming big sagebrush, mountain sagebrush, black sagebrush, antelope bitterbrush, Utah serviceberry, snowberry, golden and squaw current, pinion pine, Utah juniper, curlleaf mountain mahogany, limber pine, white fir, bluebunch wheatgrass, needlegrass and assorted forb species. 


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