National Elk Refuge

Created in 1912, the National Elk Refuge attracts not just 5,000-10,000 elk each winter, but also bighorn sheep, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. Covering roughly 25,000 acres, it protects a vital part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. An unfortunate aspect to the refuge is the vegetation along Flat Creek, or lack thereof in this case. Willows and cottonwood trees are prevented from growing each season due to the abundance of elk each winter. This prevents beavers from building any dams and slowing down Flat Creek. As a result, the creek is eroding heavily into the ground much more so than what is healthy.