National Elk Refuge kicks off sleigh rides December 19

(Jackson, Wyo.) - Today, the National Elk Refuge announced the 2015 / 2016 winter program schedule for the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center. 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 Saturday, December 19 and operate daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for Christmas Day. The rides are a 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 $21 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 the sleigh ride web link or by calling (307) 733-0277. In order to highlight the variety of animals found on the National Elk Refuge, naturalists have planned a “Feature Creature” hour at the visitor center each day from 10 - 11 a.m. 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 wildlife with guests. Refuge naturalists are also available to assist anyone interested in traveling in their own vehicle for additional wildlife opportunities. The Refuge Road is a popular destination in the winter as elk, bighorn sheep, and other animals can frequently be seen close to the roadway. In order to accommodate the amount of multi–use on the busy secondary road, some important regulations are needed for a safer wildlife viewing experience. A wildlife viewing guide, available both online or at the visitor center, lists driving safety and wildlife observation considerations and includes a map showing where parking is allowed on the Refuge Road. The visitor center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson, is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily this season, except for Christmas Day. *Feature Photo: Sleighs stop along the tour to let visitors stand and take photographs of the elk. h/t Lori Iverson / USFWS / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news #whatshappening