Molly Islands

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The Molly Islands collectively refer to two small islands (Rocky, the southernmost, and Sandy, the northernmost) located in the southeast arm of Yellowstone Lake. The Molly Islands are a popular place for nesting birds each year. Species that currently or have previously nested on the Molly Islands include American white pelican, double crested cormorant, California gull, and Caspian tern. The islands are the only location in Wyoming where white pelicans are known to roost. To protect the nesting birds, park regulations forbid boats from landing on the islands (since 1921), and now prohibit their approach closer than 1/4 mile.

The specific source of the name is unknown. According to Hiram M. Chittenden, the islands were named for Molly Gannett, wife of the chief geographer of the Hayden Survey of 1871. However, Gannett did not join the survey until a year later, so that is unlikely.


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