Elk viewing tours at three Eastern Kentucky resort parks will once again be offered this fall and winter.
Visitors to Jenny Wiley, Buckhorn Lake and Pine Mountain can choose a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and arise early to enjoy one of these unique tours. Participants should bring their cameras – there should be great photography opportunities. 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 11,000.
- Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg
- 2010 dates: Sept. 25, 26 (Elk Night Sept. 18); Oct. 9, 10 16, 17, 23, 24; Nov. 6, 13, 20; Dec. 4.
- 2011 dates: Jan. 15, 22, 23, 29 (Buffalo Night Jan. 22); Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5, 12
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park is sponsoring elk tours at a cost of $25/person or $15/children 12 and under. This fee includes your transportation via van to the viewing sites and a continental breakfast. The park also offers packages that include lodging. Because these tours fill up quickly, registration is suggestion. Special group and business tours are available. Call (800) 325-0142.
- Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park, Buckhorn
- 2010 dates: Sept. 25, 26; Oct. 23, 24; Nov. 13, 14; Dec. 4, 5, 18, 19.
- 2011 dates: Jan. 15, 16, 29, 30; Feb. 19, 20, 26, 27; March 12, 13, 19, 20.
Enjoy seeing these majestic animals during their rutting season. With sightings recorded on every tour over the last three years, guided elk viewing adventures have proven to be memorable wildlife-viewing experiences. Participants must register by calling 800-325-0058. Participation in the natural history program the evening prior to the trip is strongly recommended. Participants are also encouraged to bring binoculars, camera, water and snacks. The tour van leaves the park between 5:45 a.m. and 6:35 a.m. depending on the date, and usually returns to the park at around 10:30 a.m. Package price of $150 per couple ($110 per single) includes one night’s lodging, dinner on the night of arrival, bagged breakfast and transportation to and from the elk preserve the following morning. Stay the night before or after with package for an extra $45. The cost for the tour only is $20; with a bagged breakfast it’s $30. Call (800) 325-0058 for reservations and information.
- Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Pineville
- 2010 dates: Nov. 6, Dec. 4
- 2011 dates: Jan. 8, 15, 22; Feb. 5, 26; March 12
Pine Mountain State Resort Park continues its series of guided fall/winter elk tours in 2010-11. With sightings recorded for every tour over the last 3 years, guided elk viewing adventures have proven to be the current top-end nature experience available in Kentucky today. Participants must register in advance by calling (800) 325-1712. Don’t delay; the tours fill quickly! Overnight accommodations are also available, but lodging reservations must be made separately.
At Pine Mountain, the tour fee is $25 per person ($15 children 6 & under) and includes the Kentucky’s Elk Herd presentation on Friday evening, and the continental breakfast and guided tour on Saturday morning. Participation in the Friday evening natural history program is strongly recommended, as it will enhance the enjoyment of the Saturday tour. Participants should also bring binoculars, camera, water and snacks. The Saturday tour van leaves the park between 5:45 a.m. and 6:35 a.m. depending on the date, and usually returns to the park at around 10:30 a.m.
For more information about these parks and other Kentucky State Parks, visit www.parks.ky.gov. For directions to any of Kentucky’s state parks, use Google Maps.