Department of Parks
Three State Resort Parks To Offer Fall and Winter Elk Tours
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Pine Mountain State Resort Park near Pineville will be offering elk viewing tours this fall and winter, along with two other state parks in Eastern Kentucky.
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 more than 6,300.
You can pick out a weekend, stay at a state park lodge or cottage and rise 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 tours will continue to be conducted at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park and Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park.
“Elk tours are still rising in popularity as a wildlife viewing experience,” said state park naturalist Carey Tichenor. “The tours from the Pine Mountain State Resort Park location will offer a different viewing opportunity from the other parks because they will take place in another geographic region.”
Pine Mountain State Resort Park will offer tours for $20 a person ($10 for children 12 and under). The program includes a Friday evening natural history program, a continental breakfast, transportation and guide.
Pine Mountain has a lodge, cottages, Mountain View Restaurant, hiking trails, golf course, interpretive center, mini-golf, naturalist programming and gift shop.
The dates of the Pine Mountain elk tours for 2007 are Sept. 22; Oct. 13, Oct. 20, Nov. 3, Dec. 1, Dec. 15 and in 2008 on Jan. 12 and Jan. 19. Call Pine Mountain at 1-800-325-1712 for information and reservations.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at Prestonsburg will be offering the tours starting Sept. 22. The half-day tour includes a continental breakfast and costs $20 for adults and $10 for children under age 12.
Jenny Wiley State Resort Park has a lodge, cottages, campground, Music Highway Grill, hiking trails, disc golf, fishing, a summer theater and recreational activities.
The other elk tour dates at Jenny Wiley are: Sept. 23; Oct. 13, 20, 21, 27; Nov. 3, 17, 24; Dec. 1, 15. For 2008, the tours will be Jan. 12, 19, 26, 27; Feb. 9, 16, 23; March 1, 8, 15.
For information and reservations, call Jenny Wiley State Resort Park at 1-800-325-0142.
Buckhorn Lake State Resort Park in Perry County is also offering elk tour packages in September and October as well as January and February of 2008. The park’s weekend packages include a night’s lodging, two meals, and the elk tour. The package price is $145 per couple. Morning tours leave at Stay an extra night Saturday for $45. The elk tour alone is $30.
Buckhorn Lake has a lodge, cottages, Bowlingtown Country Kitchen, hiking trails, mini-golf and fishing.
The dates for the elk tour weekends at Buckhorn Lake are Sept. 21-22; Sept. 28-29; Oct. 12-13 and Jan. 12-13, Jan. 19-21 and Feb. 1-2 in 2008. For information and reservations, call 1-800-325-0058.
Group tours are also available at these parks. Call the park for information.
The Kentucky State Park System is composed of 53 state parks plus an interstate park shared with Virginia. The Department of Parks, an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, operates 17 resort parks with lodges -- more than any other state. Each year, Kentucky parks draw 7 million visitors and contribute $317 million to the economy. For more information on Kentucky parks, visit our Web site at http://www.parks.ky.gov