– DC Nowlin became the first Refuge Manager.
– The Miller House, along with 1,240 acres, were purchased from Robert E.
– The Refuge grows to 1,760 acres from private lands.
– Almer Nelson takes over as National Elk Refuge Manager, a position he holds
for 33 years.
– 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.
– Noted biologist Olaus Murie began conducting studies of local elk herds.
– 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.
– 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
1939 –The Bureau of Biological Survey was transferred from the Department
of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior through an Executive Branch
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.
1957 – Jackson 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.
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.
The Refuge discontinued harvesting hay on its land.
– The first public elk antler auction was held in Jackson.
1970 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began evaluating pelletized alfalfa hay as
Construction of a Wyoming Travel Information Center was completed on Refuge
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
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
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
2012 – The National Elk Refuge celebrated its centennial.
Follow Us Online
Elk aren't the only species of wildlife you may see on the National Elk Refuge.