Take a safari in North America
December 04, 2008
For those vacationers without the time or money it takes to safari in Africa or an equally distant place the US Fish & Wildlife Services (FWS) suggests traveling to one of the national wildlife refuges in North America.

Sleigh rides amidst thousands of elk wintering in Wyoming, trolley tours of bison roaming newly restored prairie in Colorado, a drive along lakes and marshes in Florida catching sight of alligators--these are just some of the opportunities suggested by David Eisenhauer of the FWS for visitors who want to see charismatic wild animals in their natural habitat. A search of the Internet will reveal wildlife refuges in almost every state in the US.

The ones the FWS brags about

Horse-drawn sleigh rides (or wagon rides minus the snow) run daily from December 8, 2008 to April 1, 2009 at the National Elk Refuge near Jackson, WY and allow the visitor to catch a glimpse of the approximately 8,000 elk descending from the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks and surrounding forest areas. For a virtual tour go here.

Elk also may be seen on the five-mile Tule Elk Tour Route open daylight hours year-round at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, California.

The Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, just 11 miles from downtown Denver, CO, offers two-hour wildlife viewing tours on a trolley bus of the bison, North America's heaviest animal, re-introduced to the refuge in 2007. The trolley that operates at 10 a.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays requires pre-registration by phoning (303) 289-0930.

For nature photographers and others wanting to catch sight of elusive grey wolves the suggestion is to visit either the 61,500 acre Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge or the 42,724 acre Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, both in Minnesota. Of course, if the visitor isn't lucky than the plentiful white-tailed deer will be the only animal seen.

Aroostock County, Maine claims to have the densest population of moose and black bears in the lower 48 states with sightings quite common during May through September at the Aroostock National Wildlife Rufuge near Limestone. The refuge has about six miles of trails through wetlands, spruce-fir forests and northern hardwood forests.

Visitors to the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida are able to see a plentiful number of alligators on the 6.8 mile wildlife drive that runs from the visitor center to the historic St. Marks lighthouse on Apalachee Bay or hiking the refuge's many trails.


Small game refuges we found in the 4-state region

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