Visiting National Wildlife Refuges in Wyoming
Visiting National Wildlife Refuges in Wyoming can give you a feeling of pride at being an American. The National Refuge program operates for the purpose of maintaining lands, not recreation, though recreation takes place there, and not for human beings though there are plenty who come and visit at Wyoming National Wildlife Refuges every year. The point of the National Wildlife Refuge is to insure that large parcels of land valuable as habitats for wildlife are maintained. It may be at the same time one of the most selfless and selfish acts coming out of Congress, for in some ways by saving wildlife we save a little bit of who we are as well.
National Elk Refuge, Jackson, Wyoming. Set aside as a large game refuge in 1912, the National Elk Refuge has successfully maintained a large herd of one of nature’s most imposing creatures, the elk. The refuge is managed is such a way as to provide a livable habitat for half of a herd of some 14,000 elk in an area just outside of the town of Jackson Wyoming and near Yellowstone and Grand Teton’s National Parks. The unique nature of this very special National Wildlife Refuge and the majesty of its main residents result each year in a visitors and seasonal hunters list that reaches 1 million people.
For visitors coming to visit the National Elk Refuge during the winter months is an experience not to be forgotten. According to the National Elk Refuge website at http://www.fws.gov/nationalelkrefuge the National Elk Refuge is special in several ways . First it is the largest single concentration of wintering elk anywhere in the world. When you visit this refuge you are seeing something very special indeed, 5,000 or more Elk in one area at one time. Second this is not just a refuge for Elk though that is the predominant herd. The refuge is also wintering area for a herd of almost 1,000 bison. Though these numbers don’t equal the size of herds that roamed this part of the country before settlement, a herd of 1,000 bison is very impressive to most human beings today. Third within the refuge there are many other forms of wildlife that are a treat to the eye and the spirit including big horn sheep, mule dear, wolves, coyotes and host of smaller animals.
Finally when you visit the National Elk Refuge you can’t help but leaving with a desire to take better care of all of our natural resources in the way that this refuge is being managed .
Horton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The State of Wyoming is so filled with beautiful landscape and extensive parklands that some of the smaller refuge areas can get by passed easily. Such is the case of Horton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. According to its website at http://www.fws.gov/refuges Horton Lake National Wildlife Refuge was established so that man could assist with the manipulation of water supply and grazing area to benefit migrating birds.
The location of this wildlife refuge is rather extraordinary in that it is found some 7,000 ft. above sea level. The refuge land area surrounds five natural lakes that give the area special value as a refuge For visitors the draw is always the wildlife. With large concentrations of water and high altitude the refuge has more than its share of raptors and waterfowl passing through on regular basis. There are also several prairie dog towns that allow visitors a chance to see the critters up close and personal and to photograph what they see
Like many National Wildlife Refuges, Horton Lake is open from dawn to dusk and visitors find there is no admission fee.
Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge,Green River Wyoming. You would expect that in a Western state like Wyoming that at least one of its National Wildlife Refuges would derive its name from an Indian source and you would be correct. Seedskadee is a name taken from the Shoshone Indian and according to the refuge website, http://www.seedskadee.fws.gov the name means “river of the prairie hen” . The literal meaning is not far from the service that today’s refuge provides. Through the refuge of some 26,000 acres is cut by the Green River. For migrating birds and other wildlife the river and its surroundings are like a oasis .
Besides being an important stopping point for migratory birds, Seedskadee Refuge is a place that draws visitors because of its history and the culture of its past. The Green River was an important stopping point for human beings too. Used by Native Americans, trappers and even pioneer parties the Green River has a rich story to tell. The Seedskadee does not have the attraction of the National Elk Refuge. But each year about 10,000 visitors make the trip to the southwestern corner of Wyoming and go back in time to when the area was all wilderness, imagining what life must have been like in those days. Visitors are welcome to follow all applicable regulations for fishing and hunting in the refuge and are encouraged to stop at the visitor center and explore the refuge via the fully accessible trail that begins at the Lombardy Ferry Historical Site. In saving a haven for birds at Seedskadee, the National Wildlife Refuge System has also saved a place for man.