U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

In-Progress Plan Status


Fall 2010

Start planning
Notice of intent in Federal Register


Winter 2010

Gather public input


Summer 2012

Develop management alternatives


Early 2014

Prepare draft plan and environmental assessment (EA)


Summer 2014

Release draft plan and EA for public review
Notice of availability in Federal Register


Fall 2014

Analyze public comments


Winter 2014

Complete final plan
Notice of availability in Federal Register


Information about the planning process is in Planning Overview. Terms are in the Glossary.

Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan

National Elk Refuge



On completion, this comprehensive conservation plan will set out the management and use of the National Elk Refuge for 15 years. Hosting the world's largest concentration of wintering elk, the refuge lies directly south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks in northwestern Wyoming.

The purposes of the refuge are to provide (1) a sanctuary and breeding ground for birds, and (2) a refuge for elk and other big game animals while allowing grazing.

  • Established in 1912 and expanded in 1927.
  • Comprises about 25,000 acres.
  • Located in Teton County, Wyoming.
  • Headquartered in Jackson, Wyoming.

Grassy meadows, marshes, forest, sagebrush, and rock outcrops create diverse and rich habitats at the refuge, where about 175 species of birds and at least 47 mammal species have been observed. In addition to the large elk herd, a free-roaming bison herd winters at the refuge.

Many types of waterfowl, including trumpeter swan, find refuge in the nearly 1,600 acres of open water and marshland. Other notable wildlife species are bald eagle, peregrine falcon, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, gray wolf, and mountain lion.

Photograph of a bull elk with large antlers in velvet.

Cover of draft plan.

The Bison and Elk Management Plan completed in 2007 contains goals, objectives, and strategies for managing bison and elk in the National Elk Refuge and in Grand Teton National Park for 15 years. Therefore, this comprehensive conservation plan will not address bison and elk management on the refuge but will cover all other aspects of refuge management including migratory birds, threatened and endangered species, visitor use, and cultural resources.

Public involvement

To hear about this planning effort, you can get on our mailing list.

You can contact us by comment form, email, postal mail, telephone, or fax (refer to "Contacts" below). Comment period ends October 24, 2014.

Public meetings
None at this time.


Planning team leader
Toni Griffin
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Division of Refuge Planning
134 Union Boulevard, Suite 300
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

303 / 236 4378 telephone
303 / 236 4792 fax

Submit comments by email

Refuge address
National Elk Refuge
P.O. Box 510
Jackson, Wyoming 83001

Refuge telephone
307 / 733 9212

Refuge Web site


Comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) and environmental assessment (EA)
Draft CCP and EA 2014 (9 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents, Summary (PDF)
Chapter 1, Introduction (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, The Refuge (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, Alternatives
(1 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, Affected Environment
(2 MB PDF) Chapter 5, Environmental Consequences (1 MB PDF)
Chapter 6, Proposed Action (1 MB PDF)Appendixes (1 MB PDF)

Planning process documents
Planning update 3 2014 (1 MB PDF)
Planning update 2 2011 (1 MB PDF)
Planning update 1 2011 (1 MB PDF)
Notice of availability of a CCP 2014 (PDF)
Notice of intent to develop a CCP 2010 (PDF)