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Elk Refuge Visitation Sets Record

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A record number of visitors was set last week as throngs of visitors have been taking the sleigh rides through the National Elk Refuge herd over the holiday weeks.  Spokesperson Lori Iverson says that visitation peaked last Saturday.  She says 862 people went on a sleigh ride on the 55 sleighs that went out during the day. Altogether, Iverson says 2,334 people took the rides in the three days following Christmas.  Iverson adds that the number of humans on the refuge is not the only number that has been increasing over the past week.  Iverson says, “We had about 15-hundred elk in the middle or latter part of December; and now we’re seeing more elk come down.  The numbers are [now] about 490-hundred and we expect to see that trend continue or the population stabilize a little bit more as we get later into the winter season.” Iverson says despite the number of people coming to take the ride through the elk herd, the waiting time has been minimal, and interpretive activities have been made available while the people wait. She says even at the height of the visits, the waiting time was not more than 20 minutes for the 11 sleighs that were out.

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