Winnemucca Lake in the El Dorado National Forest of California is a sacred site to the Northern Paiute people. Even a 2002 study by the Bureau of Land Management lists the lake as a “culturally significant area.”
The study, “Northern Paiute and Western Shoshone Land Use in Northern Nevada: A Class I Ethnographic/Ethnohistoric Overview,” was created to give BLM a better understanding of tribal histories when consulting with tribes when it comes to environment and land use issues.
The study details traditional origin stories including one that tells of water babies in Winnemucca Lake, or izikuyuipanüncd, as the Northern Paiute call it.
“As with most bodies of water, Winnemucca Lake was inhabited by Water Babies and other creatures,” the study recounts. “A mean water baby lived in Winnemucca Lake; it would cause the death of anyone who saw it…A great green snake in Winnemucca Lake was also dangerous.”
This video, which recently appeared on YouTube, shows a string of wildflower photographs captured by a hiker during his trek around Winnemucca Lake: