Current Protection

Wilderness Study Area (Pending National Conservation Area)

Management Agency

Bureau of Land Management

Year Protected


Total Area

101,290 Acres

Breaking News- January 16, 2024

On January 16, 2024 Senator Rosen introduced the Truckee Meadows Public Lands Management Act. A portion of this act includes permanent protection for the 134,144 acres of the former Massacre Rim and Sheldon Contiguous Wilderness Study Areas, re-branded as the Massacre Rim Dark Sky National Conservation Area (NCA). Included within the proposed NCA is the 25,152-acre Bitner Table Wilderness.

Proposed Massacre Rim Dark Sky NCA Map

The Massacre Rim WSA includes Massacre Rim and all of the Massacre and Bitner benches and their southern slopes. The WSA was studied under Section 603 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and was included in the Eagle Lake-Cedarville Final Environmental Impact Statement finalized in October, 1987. The terrain is rolling and open, with sagebrush and scattered juniper in the western part. Elevations range from 5,520 to 6,780 feet, giving way to excellent scenic vistas of up to 60 miles from many locations within the recommended wilderness. The screening provided by the topographic breaks and the lack of heavy visitor use create an impression of isolation from the civilized world providing outstanding opportunities for solitude. Massacre Rim is part of the traditional lands of the Northern Paiute, who have connected with dark skies here for countless generations.

Massacre Rim, a 1,200 foot fault block exposure, dominates the northwest part of this WSA. The spectacular fault scarp stands high above vegetated talus slopes. Several small, spring-fed meadows form islands of green in the rocky, shallow soils. According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, a majority of this WSA contains critical and irreplaceable habitat for the Greater Sage-Grouse. Friends of Nevada Wilderness believes that full wilderness status for this area, and restoration of important lek, nesting and brood-rearing habitat could help stave off a future listing of the bird under the Endangered Species Act and help the bird's population to recover. To learn about the origin of the place name Massacre Rim, see the Additional Resources Tab on the left side of this page.


On March 18, 2019, Massacre Rim became just the 7th certified Dark Sky Sanctuary in the world. Located in far northern Washoe County near the borders with California and Oregon, Massacre Rim is so remote that it has “exceptional quality of starry nights” and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its natural values, criteria necessary to meet the International Dark-Sky Association’s strict standards for a Dark Sky Sanctuary. For more info on dark sky viewing please visit our Dark Sky Sanctuary Tab

Agency Information

Managing Agency:Bureau of Land Management

Local District: Surprise Field Office

Address: 602 Cressler Street, Cedarville, CA 96104

Phone:(530) 279-6101