Resource Management


The National Elk Refuge's 24,700 acres require a combination of protection, restoration, and maintenance of several habitats types. Refuge personnel use a variety of habitat management tools to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully considers management techniques and employs them in varying degrees according to the situation, a term commonly referred to as adaptive management. Public involvement and input are important to the planning process. 



  • Bison and Elk Management Plan

    Bison and Elk small box

    A Bison and Elk Management Plan was finalized in April 2007 with the signing of the Record of Decision. This 15-year plan guides management of both species for both the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

    Learn More
  • Supplemental Feeding


    As elk gather on the refuge, harsh winter conditions create challenges for the animals and for wildlife managers.

    Learn More
  • Irrigation Program

    Irrigation K-Line pods

    Historically, the National Elk Refuge primarily watered cultivated fields by flood irrigation, using the same ditch systems created by original homesteaders. Flood irrigation, however, proved to be much more inefficient than other methods, in part due to the porous nature of soils on the National Elk Refuge. 

    Learn More
  • Wildlife Disease


    Diseases could affect the number, distribution, and health of the elk and bison herds in a number of ways. Infectious diseases in the Jackson elk herd are also of concern because of potential transmission to domestic animals (mainly cattle and horses). Two diseases of concern often discussed are chronic wasting disease and brucellosis. 

  • Collaring Elk


    Since 2005, the National Elk Refuge and Wyoming Game & Fish Department have deployed 88 collars on elk wintering on the refuge. Elk location data collected from the collars can help wildlife managers in a variety of ways.

    Learn More
  • Fire Management

    Fire Crew

    The National Elk Refuge is part of the Teton Interagency Fire Program, which includes partnerships with the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson Hole Fire/EMS.

    Learn More