Winter season programs begin on the Refuge

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – The National Elk Refuge announced its 2017-18 winter program schedule for the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center. The visitor center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson, is open from 9am to 5pm daily this season, except for Christmas Day.

January afternoon in 2016. (USFWS)

The Refuge’s most popular educational program is actually a bit of a moving target. The setting is a horse-drawn sleigh where participants are bundled up against the elements to enjoy their unique transportation through the Refuge. This is the only way to see elk from just feet away.

Because wapiti have grown accustomed to horse-drawn wagons (they are fed from such conveyances all winter) they exhibit little fear of seeing sleighs full of tourists.

Sleigh rides begin for the season on Saturday, December 16 and operate daily from 10am to 4pm, 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.

Becky with Gus. (TRC)

The National Elk Refuge is again partnering with the Teton Raptor Center this winter to present a series of “Feathered Fridays” visits this season at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center. The programs, offered each Friday from 12-2pm, will run weekly from December 22, 2017 through March 30, 2018.

More than 2,600 people attended one of the free raptor programs last season, viewing the live birds that are brought weekly to the visitor center to serve as avian ambassadors during the informal programming event.

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