November 25, 2014 (NER14-34)
The National Elk Refuge is pleased to announce its 2014 / 2015 winter program schedule for the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center. The visitor center, open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily during the winter season, is located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson.
The refuge’s most popular educational program takes place from the unique setting of a horse–drawn sleigh. Sleigh rides begin for the season on Monday, December 15 and operate daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, except for Christmas Day. The rides are an exciting way to observe and photograph wildlife on the refuge. In addition to elk, passengers routinely see coyotes, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, ravens, and other wildlife.
Participants purchase sleigh ride tickets at the visitor center and are transported on a free shuttle bus to the sleigh boarding area three miles north of Jackson. Sleighs depart three to four times each hour throughout the day, with rides typically lasting an hour. The sleigh rides are operated under contract by Double H Bar, Inc. Rates are $20 for adults and $15 for children ages 5 through 12, with children under age 5 riding for free. Reservations are required for private tours and groups of 20 people or more; smaller groups or families may make reservations, but advanced booking is not necessary. Additional information on sleigh rides, including group rates, reservations, and gift certificate purchases, is available by visiting our web site link or calling (307) 733-0277.
Refuge naturalists have planned a “Feature Creature” hour at the visitor center each day from 10:00 to 11:00 am, highlighting animals found on the refuge. Visitors can use the opportunity to informally visit with staff to learn more about the featured animal’s characteristics, habitat, and daily life. Naturalists often have props such as horns, antlers, furs, and photographs available as they discuss the wildlife with guests.
During the 2014 / 2015 season, the refuge will not be offering guided wildlife excursions as a formal program. However, naturalists are available at the visitor center to assist anyone interested in traveling on the Refuge Road in their own vehicle. Additionally, a Refuge Road Wildlife Viewing Guide is available online or at the visitor center. The wildlife viewing guide lists driving safety and wildlife observation tips and indicates area where parking is allowed on the Refuge Road. The Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce is also available to provide a complete listing of wildlife viewing companies operating commercially guided tours in the Jackson Hole valley. Many of the companies listed have a special use permit to include the Refuge Road as part of their tour package.
The Grand Teton Association, which is a nonprofit organization that operates sales outlets in a number of federally–operated visitor centers and contact stations throughout the area, has scheduled their annual winter holiday sale. The Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center serves as one of the association’s largest sales outlets. All full–price merchandise is discounted 20% from November 28 through December 24, with current or new Grand Teton Association members receiving 25% off. Sales support educational, interpretive, and research projects on the National Elk Refuge.
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Elk aren't the only species of wildlife you may see on the National Elk Refuge.