Tour provides up-close look

By Observer staff December 08, 2012 09:51 am

For the past 22 years, T&T Wildlife Tours have been attracting people from all over the world to see these  magnificent elk, and ride with Waylan and Jed, the team of Percheron draft horses.
For the past 22 years, T&T Wildlife Tours have been attracting people from all over the world to see these magnificent elk, and ride with Waylan and Jed, the team of Percheron draft horses.

Oregon’s only elk-viewing excursion via horse-drawn wagon runs weekends from Dec. 15 through March 3, some holidays  

Looking for some winter season family fun? 

Northeast Oregon has a great variety of opportunities when the snow starts to fly. 

Some people head for the mountains to enjoy Oregon’s driest powder snow on skis, snowboards, snowshoes or snowmobiles.

Other people bundle up to try their hand a catching a winter steelhead. 

Still others make it a tradition to visit the Elkhorn Wildlife Area near North Powder to ride on Oregon’s only elk-viewing excursion via horse-drawn wagon into about 150 head of wild, Rocky Mountain elk.

For the past 22 years, T&T Wildlife Tours have been attracting people from all over the world to see these magnificent elk, and ride with Waylan and Jed, the team of Percheron draft horses. 

Located near the little town of North Powder, and not far from Baker City or La Grande, the elk refuge offers visitors a chance to get within five feet of more than 150 head.

The narrative provided by owners Alice Trindle and Susan Triplett helps to bring the full picture of why the elk are being fed.

Trindle and Triplett have some incredible stories gathered over the past 22 years. 

“While most people come to see the elk and other frequent wildlife visitors to the site, the other truly rare attraction are Waylan and Jed,” Triplett said. “It is rare in today’s mechanized, fast-paced world that you get to slow down and pet a 2,000-pound draft horse on his big ol’ soft nose!”

The horse-drawn wagon, which is equipped with a wheelchair lift, takes people through a winter wonderland, located at the base of the Elkhorn Mountain range.

Other common wildlife to the site include wild turkeys, many raptors such as redtail and rough-legged hawks and bald eagles. coyotes, fox and bobcats.

The tours will begin Dec. 15 and run weekends through March 3. 

Special holiday tour dates are scheduled for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Visitors can also ring in the New Year on Jan. 1 with a horse-drawn wagon ride.

Call 541-856-3356 or the Union County Chamber office at 1-800-848-9969 or Baker County Visitor Information at 1-800-523-1235.  Or visit the website at
www.tnthorsemanship.com/wildlifetours/.

Directions

The Anthony Creek feed site, part of the Elkhorn Wildlife Area, is easy to reach on paved roads. Take exit 285 off Interstate 84 at North Powder, between La Grande and Baker City. Travel eight miles west on North Powder River Lane, following the brown “wildlife viewing” signs.