An elk migration spot can be a fun family experience - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

An elk migration spot can be a fun family experience

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NACHES, WA - It happens every winter around this time of the year: elk migrate to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area to be fed and to keep out of trouble.

"There is a number that come down to eat,"said Al Karn, a volunteer of 20 years. "The snow brings them in, and this is about the time that we always start around the end of the year."

Elk ranging from hundreds to sometimes even thousands have been coming to the area for more than 30 years, and so far more than 600 have flocked to the area. That number is expected to increase, and elk aren't the only ones going to the Oak Creek Wildlife Area.

"It is a tradition for us," said Will Smith, who was visiting with his family. "I grew up in the valley and my parents used to take us up here a lot, and it seemed like a nice activity to do in between school break."

Smith has visited the elk in the past, but this was the first time he brought his two daughters. 

"This is the first time for the girls though," Smith said, "so maybe it's more of renewing a tradition."

The Oak Creek Wildlife Area not only helps the elk survive during wintertime, but it also helps keep them out of orchards and out of the valley.

"They are here for hunters, they are here for the beauty of the land and to keep them out of the orchards where they would not be appreciated," said Karn.

The hay used to feed the elk is raised through donations and private funding. Karn said that one elk eats ten pounds of hay per day, which totals to roughly two tons of food that are fed to the elk.

The elk are fed on a daily basis at 1:30, and people can even take a ride on a tour truck to get up close and personal.

If anyone wants to visit the elk, they can do so from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and they have until March.

A Discovery Pass or a One Day Pass, which can be purchased on site, is required.