West Virginia cancels elk tours due to virus concerns

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia officials have decided to cancel elk tours this year due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

Logan State Park naturalist Lauren Cole, who leads the tours, told the Charleston Gazette-Mail that there would be too many risks involved if the tours were allowed.

“The problem is that we have to put 12 guests and two employees in a 15-passenger van to get to the (Tomblin) Wildlife Management Area property where the elk are. There’s no way to social-distance in a van,” she said.

Division of Natural Resources officials have allowed up to 24 public tours each year since 2018, and they are usually timed between early September and mid-October to coincide with mating season.

The tours quickly became very popular, and Cole said she expects resume leading them fall as long as there’s no concern about the virus.

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