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Refuge announces 2017 Spring access information

03_28_17_RefugeAccess_Article.jpgRefuge Manager Brian Glaspell has announced this year's wintering wildlife closure on the Refuge will be lifted at midnight on Sunday, May 1, 2017 to coincide with the Bridger-Teton National Forest's scheduled annual opening.

March 30, 2017 (NER 17-06)

Refuge Manager Brian Glaspell has announced this year’s wintering wildlife closure on the National Elk Refuge will be lifted at 12:00 am on May 1, 2017 to coincide with the Bridger-Teton National Forest’s scheduled annual opening.

From December 1 through April 30 each year, a seasonal closure limits public travel on the Refuge Road. During that period, traffic and pedestrian use are only allowed from the Refuge entrance off East Broadway Avenue to the Twin Creek subdivision, or approximately 3½ miles The closure provides animals protection at a time when their energy reserves are low and abundant new vegetation growth, or green-up, is not yet widely available for foraging.

For many years, Refuge staff allowed people interested in accessing the National Forest through the Refuge on May 1 to begin lining up on April 30 on the Refuge Road. The interest stems from the public’s legal ability to remove shed antlers from the adjoining National Forest. The practice of lining up on the Refuge Road was eliminated in 2016, thus offering consistent access at midnight to both Refuge Road and Forest users when the seasonal closure is lifted.

National Elk Refuge access regulations, including those related to overnight parking and use of non-authorized access routes, are posted on the Access Regulations link of the Refuge's web site. Printed copies of the regulations will also be available at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson.

People visiting or passing through the National Elk Refuge must note it is illegal to take, collect, retrieve, possess, or transport any natural product, including shed antlers, from the Refuge.

The Refuge entrance at the end of East Broadway Avenue in Jackson is the only legal access onto the Refuge without a special use permit or Refuge hunting or fishing permit. Public access from the north end of the Refuge is not allowed, including travel across the Gros Ventre River. 

Parking within the Town of Jackson near the entrance of the National Elk Refuge will be extremely limited on April 30. The Jackson Police Department will have additional staff on hand to educate people lining up on streets near the Refuge entrance and relocate them to public parking areas within the Town of Jackson. 

More information on parking options, restrictions, and enforcement within the Town of Jackson is available via Internet or telephone at:

The Bridger-Teton National Forest will also post updates related to wintering wildlife closures and May 1 access to the National Forest at http://www.fs.usda.gov/btnf. 

Last Updated: Apr 24, 2017
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