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Government shutdown affects National Elk Refuge operations

Refuge Manager Steve Kallin announced this morning that programs and services on the National Elk Refuge will be affected by the shutdown of the Federal Government.

October 1, 2013 (NER 13-24) 

Because of the lapse in appropriations and pursuant to law, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will close most of its operations, including public access to all national wildlife refuges. All activities will be canceled on refuge lands and public buildings for the duration of the Federal Government shutdown. Closures and suspended activities on the National Elk Refuge include:

  • The Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson, will remain closed    until further notice. General travel information will be available from the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce office at 112 Center Street or by telephone at (307) 733–3316. Additional locations for Chamber of Commerce information will be temporarily available; call the Chamber of Commerce offices at the telephone number above, or visit their web site at for other information locations.
  • The North Highway 89 multi–use pathway from Flat Creek to the Gros Ventre River, located on federal land, will be closed  to pedestrian, bicycle, and other non–motorized travel. Maps of additional multi–use pathways in the Town of Jackson and Teton County can be found at the Jackson Hole Community Pathways link at
  • Bison hunting on the National Elk Refuge will be suspended during the Federal Government shutdown. The current Refuge bison hunt period, scheduled to run through October 4, will be canceled for the remainder of the hunt period unless there is a change in government shutdown status. If the Federal Government reopens before October 4, any Refuge bison hunt permits will again become valid. Hunting during all remaining Refuge bison hunt periods will only be available if the Federal Government is not in shutdown status.
  • Elk hunting is scheduled to begin on the National Elk Refuge on October 12. Similar to bison hunting, Refuge elk hunting opportunities will only be available if the Federal Government is not in shutdown status. 
  • Fishing on the National Elk Refuge, scheduled to be open through October 31, is suspended during the Federal Government shutdown. This includes the Gros Ventre River along the north boundary of the Refuge, Upper Flat Creek from the McBride Bridge and northeast toward the Bridger–Teton National Forest, Lower Flat Creek between a posted boundary at the Old Crawford Bridge site upstream to the McBride Bridge on the Flat Creek Road, and Nowlin Creek from its confluence with Flat Creek to the Closed Area boundary sign ¼ mile upstream.
  • The National Elk Refuge’s web page will be unavailable for public viewing. Instead, web visitors will be redirected to a U.S. Department of the Interior web site at

The Refuge Road and Flat Creek Road will remain open as a travel corridor and access road to other federal and private lands.

For programs experiencing a lapse in appropriated funding, only limited functions will continue, such as those necessary to respond to emergencies and to protect human life or property. In addition to national wildlife refuges, other Service public lands and services closed to the public include waterfowl production areas, Ecological Services field offices, fish hatcheries, fish technology and health centers, and fish and wildlife conservation offices. 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Director Dan Ashe said in a statement, “Closing off public access to our national wildlife refuges and public lands is the last thing we want to do, but is consistent with operations called for during a government shutdown. This is difficult news for families, birdwatchers, hunters and anglers, and recreationists who enjoy the great outdoors on refuges – as well as for the many local businesses who depend on the tourism and outdoor recreation economy they generate.”  

Additional information about the Federal Government’s operating status both today and in the days to follow is available at and

Last Updated: Jan 29, 2014
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