Public comment on new Visitor Center closes Oct. 20

JACKSON, Wyo. — The public comment period on the draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed replacement Visitor Center on the National Elk Refuge ends on Oct. 20.

The proposal describes a plan to construct a new Visitor Center 15,000 square foot Visitor Center just north of the existing 7,500 square foot Visitor Center.

The proposal includes expanding indoor and outdoor amenities including, habitat restoration, new trails and boardwalks wildlife viewing areas.

A new 1800 square foot entrance space/lobby is being proposed to replace the current 50 square foot entrance and a new 1500 square-foot multipurpose room will replace the current 50 square foot room. The 400 square foot theater is not included in the new designs.

According to the Elk Refuge, the goal is to create a welcoming space where new audiences can be introduced to the Refuge, to opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation, to the Refuge’s role in providing wildlife habitat, and to the broader conservation goals of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The current Visitor Center is over 40 years old and serves approximately 320,000 people each year, according to the Environmental Assessment.

The Jackson Hole/Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center is owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the National Elk Refuge. The six agencies that operate from the visitor center are the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton Association, Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and Wyoming Game & Fish.

The Visitor Center has been closed since Aug. 22 due to Teton County being categorized in “red” COVID-19 risk level. Limited services have been offered outside, weather permitting.

A conceptual design for the new Visitor Center.

Comments can be submitted by email to: NationalElkRefugeVisitorCenter@fws.gov or by mail to: Frank Durbian, National Elk Refuge, P.O. Box 510, Jackson, WY 83001.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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