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Pinedale Online > News > December 2009 > National Elk Refuge sleigh rides to begin on December 14
National Elk Refuge sleigh rides to begin on December 14
December 4, 2009

The National Elk Refuge 2009-10 sleigh ride season will start on Monday, December 14. The wildlife viewing program runs through the first weekend of April.

Rides operate daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, located at 532 N. Cache Street in Jackson. Passengers purchase tickets at the Visitor Center and are transported on a free shuttle bus to the sleigh boarding area three miles north of Jackson on Highway 26/89/191.

The horse-drawn rides are operated under contract by Double H Bar, Inc. Rates are $18 for adults, $14 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. Sleighs depart three to four times each hour throughout the day, with rides typically lasting one hour.

Wagons can be substituted for sleighs when snow coverage is thin, still allowing participants to enjoy a unique way to observe and photograph wildlife on the refuge. Passengers routinely see coyotes, bald eagles, trumpeter swans, ravens, magpies, and other wildlife in addition to elk.

Last year, 22,000 visitors participated in the program.

The National Elk Refuge is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and provides habitat for a variety of bird and mammal species.

The Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center, open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, offers additional information on wildlife through interpretive programs, exhibits, hands-on materials, and items sold through the Grand Teton Association’s bookstore. Beginning December 14, staff naturalists will offer a 15-minute program each day at 11:00 am as part of a "Feature Creature" presentation series focusing on the lives of animals found on the refuge. The programs are free of charge; reservations are not required.

Naturalists will also offer a free wildlife caravan at 1:30 pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays to persons interested in touring on the Refuge Road to look for bighorn sheep, elk, and other area wildlife. Participants can ride with the naturalist or follow caravan-style in a separate vehicle. Reservations are required for the 1˝ – 2 hour educational tour and can be made by calling 307.734.9378 or signing up in person at the Visitor Center.

For further information on National Elk Refuge sleigh rides or other winter programs, please visit Jackson Hole Visitor Center.

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