Ten Things That Might Surprise You About Elk

Know who you’re talking to.
Bull – male elk
Cow – female elk
Calf – baby elk

Elk used to have tusks.

Two of elk’s canine teeth are commonly known as ivory. Elk’s ivories are made of the same material and have the some chemical composition as tusks on walruses, wild boars and elephants.

Kaibab NF

 Calves get the hang of things pretty quickly.

Calves can stand just 20 minutes after they’ve been born. 

Antlers can be quite heavy.

A mature bull’s antlers, which are solid bone, can weigh up to 40 pounds. 

Apache Sitgreaves NF

But they start over with antlers each year.  

Despite their size and weight, bulls shed their antlers every year and grow a new set next spring. 

Maybe you haven’t seen an elk, but perhaps you’ve heard one.  

Bull elk bugle, to both attract females and display dominance over other males. 

Listen here.

They’re creatures of the night.

Elk move and feed at night and rest during the day.


You think you see a bunch of elk? No, you see a gang of elk.

Their group name is gang. How cool is that? 

National Forests are important for Elk.  

National Forests provide 80 percent of the habitat for not only elk, but mountain goat and bighorn sheep as well. 

Umpqua NF

Elk aren’t just in the West.

Yes, elk inhabit much of the west. But did you know you could also find elk in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina?

As part of the NFF’s Treasured Landscapes conservation campaign, we worked with the Forest Service and local organizations to create and enhance elk habitat on the Ozark National Forest in Arkansas.

Learn more about elk from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, National Geographic and the National Park Service.


Summer Restoration Work in Idaho Supports Treasured Landscape

Up in the far reaches of Lightning Creek, where mountain goats roam and the views are spectacular, Treasured Landscapes work continued this summer. After the work done last summer by volunteer crews to survey and map weed populations along roads and trails, the National Forest Foundation contracted with the local Idaho Weed Guy last fall and this summer. Over the course of the summer, volunteer trail monitors noted great progress in the level of weeds.

Check out blog post from Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness "Citizen Scientist Front: Preliminary Weed Mitigation Results Positive!"

In September, our partners at the Idaho Panhandle National Forest and Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW) ventured out to the high peaks to survey whitebark pine populations, again building on work done last year. With good data on the condition and location of whitebark, cone collection and seedling propagation can begin next field season.

And important work was also done on trails. FSPW held a work day at Morris Creek trail on National Public Lands Day and worked with the Forest Service in October to plant shrubs and seedlings on the new Mud Creek trail. We’re looking forward to getting more trailwork done with youth corps workers next summer.

Scotchman Peaks NPLD 2014
Photo courtesy for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.
Scotchman Peaks NPLD 2014
Photo courtesy for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.
Scotchman Peaks NPLD 2014
Photo courtesy for Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.


If you’d like to support our continued efforts on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, click here. 

Volunteers Removed 1,100 pound of Trash at Stevens Pass

Aleta Eng, Partnership Specialist, and Tracy O’Toole, Public Affairs Officer of the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest provide a quick recap of a successful day at Stevens Pass Ski Area, 90 minutes from Seattle.

The fifth annual “Stevens Pass Friends of the Forest Day” took place on August 13 on the Skykomish Ranger District of the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. This year marked the fifth successful year of volunteers from the greater Puget Sound community coming together to help remove trash and other debris from the Stevens Pass Ski Recreation Area .

Stevens Pass Volunteers 2

Despite the rain, which blanketed the ski slopes that morning, 59 volunteers turned out and were able to cover 300 acres in the area. The volunteers removed more than 1,100 pounds of trash.

We were not optimistic for a large volunteer turnout due to morning rains. As the 9:00 am start time approached, only one volunteer had checked in. Slowly but surely, additional volunteers trickled in. After a 9:30 welcome by the National Forest Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service, we had our first group of 20 hardy volunteers ready to go.

Stevens Pass Volunteers 1

Stevens Pass Mountain Resort staff led the group onto the Tye Mill Chairlift to access the notorious winter hangout known as the “cave” and down the Skid Row slope. The next two groups of volunteers focused on removing trash underneath the Brooks Chairlift. After a wet but satisfying experience, volunteers were met with an amazing resort-sponsored lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, barbeque ribs, coleslaw, fruit, and popsicles.

In total 59 of the 65 volunteers who signed up joined us for the festivities, many sharing that they were going to participate rain or shine. Our youngest volunteer, Zoey, has participated each year since she was five years old. Now 10, she dodged in and out of the tree patches like a pro finding large stashes of garbage…all with the biggest smile on her face. See you next year Zoey!

Stevens Pass Trash

Click here to learn more about the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest and to support the work of the National Forest Foundation.

NFF and USFS Partner for Social Media


Beginning in August, the NFF and U.S. Forest Service partnered for social media. Through the partnership, individual National Forests and Grasslands can now create and manage a Facebook page. The pages include news, information and updates on the National Forest or Grassland.

Please note, this list is as of October 7, 2014. Pages may have been created since then that are not listed below. We encourage you to visit Facebook and search or call your local National Forest and ask if they are on Facebook.

National – The Forest Service


Lake Tahoe Basin
Six Rivers

Arapaho-Roosevelt & Pawnee
White River

National Forests of Florida

Nez Perce-Clearwater






New Mexico

Wayne National Forest


South Carolina
Francis Marion & Sumter

South Dakota
Black Hills


Gifford Pinchot