Other Significant Dates in Refuge History

1912 – DC Nowlin became the first Refuge Manager. 

1914The Miller House, along with 1,240 acres, were purchased from Robert E. Miller. 

1916The Refuge grows to 1,760 acres from private lands. 

1923 – Almer Nelson takes over as National Elk Refuge Manager, a position he holds for 33 years. 

1925 – The Izaak Walton League purchased 1,760 acres of private lands to expand the refuge to 3,520 acres. They donated the additional acres to the Refuge in 1927. 

1928 – Noted biologist Olaus Murie began conducting studies of local elk herds. 

1935 – An Act of Congress created the Six Million Dollar Fund and was used to acquire additional 16,400 acres of private lands for the National Elk Refuge. 

1938 – Four trumpeter swan cygnets from Red Rock Lakes were released on the National Elk Refuge, becoming the first successful transplant of the birds in the United States. 

1939The Bureau of Biological Survey was transferred from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior through an Executive Branch reorganization.

1940 – The US Fish and Wildlife Service was created by combining the Bureau of Fisheries and the Bureau of Biological Survey within the Department of the Interior.

1943 – An elk hunting program began on the Refuge.

1953 – The first antler arch was built for Jackson’s Town Square by the Rotary Club, using antlers from the Refuge.

1957Jackson District Boy Scouts begin assisting with the collection of antlers on the National Elk Refuge. 

1958 The Jackson Hole Cooperative Elk Studies Group was formed, comprised of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, and National Park Service. 

1964 – The Wilderness Act creates the National Wilderness Preservation system, which includes the National Wildlife Refuge System. 

1965 – Concession sleigh rides were first offered to the public through the Jaycees. 

1966 – The Refuge discontinued harvesting hay on its land. 

1968 – The first public elk antler auction was held in Jackson. 

1970 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began evaluating pelletized alfalfa hay as supplemental feed.

1974 – Construction of a Wyoming Travel Information Center was completed on Refuge land.

1974 – A cooperative agreement for elk management on the National Elk Refuge was signed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wyoming Game & fish Department and covers aspects of of management such as herd objective numbers, hunting, supplemental feeding, and research.

1975 – Refuge staff began using alfalfa pellets rather than hay in the supplemental feeding program.

1980 – Refuge personnel began staffing the Wyoming Travel Information Center and using it as a Refuge Visitor Center.

1980 – Sleigh rides were contracted through the Grand Teton (Natural History) Association with a percentage of the proceeds returning to the Refuge.

1994 – The sleigh ride boarding area moved to a west side highway location and began operating ticket sales out of the National Museum of Wildlife Art.

1997 President Clinton signed the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 to ensure that the Refuge System is managed as a national system of related lands, waters, and interests for the protection and conservation of our Nation’s wildlife resources.

1998 – The Wyoming Travel Information Center was purchased by the Grand Teton (Natural History) Association and operated by multi-agency partners as the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center.

2005 – Sleigh ride ticket sales moved to the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center.

2005 – The Historic Miller House opened to the public and later underwent a significant restoration in 2007.

2007 – The Bison and Elk Management Plan was completed and signed after an 8-year planning period,  a 15-year plan for managing bison and elk herds in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge.

2011 – The mortgage on the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center was paid off by the Grand Teton Association; the building was donated to the National Elk Refuge.

2012 – The National Elk Refuge celebrated its centennial.