Two state parks in eastern Kentucky will offer guests unique elk viewing tours this fall and winter.
Participants are encouraged to bring cameras. The largest elk herds are located on privately owned lands that are normally closed to the public. This is one of the few opportunities available for the public to see the greatest number of elk.
The return of elk to the region is considered to be one of Kentucky’s biggest wildlife management success stories. The animals, after being gone from the state for 150 years, were returned in 1997. They now number around 10,000.
Visitors to Jenny Wiley and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Parks can stay at a state park lodge or cottage to enjoy one of these unique tours.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg
Fall 2016 dates: Sept. 17, 18, 24, 25; Oct. 15, 16, 29; Nov. 5, 26; Dec. 3.
Winter 2017 dates: Jan. 21; Feb. 4, 18, 25; March 4, 11.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is sponsoring Elk Viewing Tours at a cost of $30 per adult and $15 per child ages 12 and under. The fee includes transportation to the viewing sites and a continental breakfast. The park also offers packages for $160 for two people and includes lodging and breakfast. Because these tours fill up quickly, registration is suggested. Special group and business tours are also available. Early morning (5:30 a.m.) and evening tours (4 p.m.) are offered on most dates.
Call 1-800-325-0142 for information and reservations.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn
Fall 2016 dates: Sept. 10, 17; Oct. 29; Nov. 5, 19.
Winter 2017 dates: March 4, 11, 18, 25.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park will host elk viewing tours this fall and winter at a cost of $120 per couple ($90 per single). The fee includes one night’s lodging, continental breakfast and transportation to and from the elk preserve the following morning. Guests may also stay the night before or after with package for an extra $50. A tour without lodging can also be arranged. Participants must register by calling Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park at 800-325-0058. Participation in the natural history program the evening prior to the trip at 7 p.m. is strongly recommended. Participants are encouraged to bring binoculars, camera, water and snacks. The tour van leaves the park between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. depending on the date, and usually returns to the park around 10:30 a.m. to noon.
(story provided by Kentucky Department of Parks)