Lakota Wolf Preserve

We mourn the loss of Dan Bacon, who passed away on February 17, 2015. Dan spent countless hours sharing his knowledge and appreciation of nature’s majesty at the Lakota Wolf Preserve, one of the signatures of his life. His wonder and amazement were best expressed by his excellence in photography. Of the hundreds of thousands of photographs he took of his wolves, this is one of his favorites.

At Camp Taylor Campground, high up the ridge of the Kittatinny Mountains at the very edge of New Jersey, its always been easy to imagine the days when the most densely populated state in the nation was wilderness. The campground adjoins the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area where bears are relatively common and bobcats and bald eagles are occasionally sighted. But the native wolf is long gone from these hills and, excepting Alaska and Minnesota, most of the United States. Now, at the Lakota Wolf Preserve, you can see wolves here in the East in a natural surrounding for the first time in over a century.

Dan Bacon
Bacon and Friend

Wildlife photographer Dan Bacon broke a fundamental rule of business when he let his professional relationship with wolves get personal. After he adopted a few wolf pups twenty-five years ago he found himself spending most of his time in transit from his home in Clinton, NJ to Colorado, where he kept his growing pack. When Bacon found out that he could no longer keep the wolves in Colorado, he had fifteen mouths to feed and nowhere to go.

Through fellow New Jersey wildlife photographer Leonard Lee Rue, Bacon made the connection with Clayton Taylor, whose family has a long association both with Dr. Rue and the preservation of wildlife. In the spring of 1997, a mile and a half of chain link fence were delivered to the campground during the height of mud season, beginning the process of building a new home for the wolves, scheduled to arrive in June. Two rows of fence now surround ten acres of Kittatinny woodlands, buried six inches in the ground and topped with three rows of barbless wire cantilever. Supported by 850 poles buried in 3,300 bags of Sakrete, the fence forms four compounds, each the size of a football field. All because Bacon let a professional relationship get personal.

Dan's partner, Jim Stein, has assumed full ownership of the Preserve and continues to manage the day to day business of caring for the wolves and the people that come to see them. After visiting the wolves in Colorado with Bacon, Stein jumped at the chance to be part of this unique venture. The Lakota Wolf Preserve is now home to twenty-one wolves, plus three bobcats, and two foxes.


Three Britsh Columbian wolf pups, Tikaani, Kayla, and Tameron, made their public debut at Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia in mid-summer, 2011. Young wolves at Lakota first need some human socialization, all their innoculations, and a little more heft before they go in with the big guys. Keep an eye on the Lakota Facebook page for updates.

Ten timbers, five arctics, three tundras, and three young British Columbians currently reside in four separate compounds, one for each pack, with one left for the bobcats, foxes and wolf pups during their weaning and "socialization" period. All these wolves were born and raised in captivity and, while far from domestic, have bonded with humans. If the pups were not introduced to people by regular interaction, they would live most of their lives hidden in the far reaches of their quarters.

Visitors can enjoy a scenic walk back to the Preserve or ride at scheduled intervals. Beyond the double chained locked gates, the observation area lies in the center of the four compounds. Wolf watches are led by owner Jim Stein and Becky Mace, who have raised and cared for all the animals at Lakota Wolf Preserve. Catch a ride on our shuttle bus or enjoy a scenic walk to the Preserve, observing the many forms of local wildlife along the way. Upon arrival you will enter the observation area, in the center of four packs of wolves. During informal talks, you will learn about the social structure of wolf packs, their eating habits, their interaction with man, and many other interesting facts. We will try to educate you about the true behavior of the wolf and will be glad to answer any questions you may have. While in the observation area you will be able to watch the wolves play, interact with each other and maybe even hear them howl! Truly an experience of a lifetime.

Lakota Wolf Preserve is located at Camp Taylor. 85 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Columbia. The Preserve is open Tuesday through Sunday, closed Mondays. Wolf Watch Tours are held only at specified hours. Check the website for a schedule.

Pack Facts

  • The wolves at Lakota Preserve consume 30,000 lbs. of meat each year, most of which is road-killed deer.
  • The pitch of a wolf's howl changes up and down, making it sound like the pack is larger than it really is and intimidating potential invaders. Each wolf has distinctive voice, and pack members can recognize each other.
  • A dog can exert up to 700 lbs. of jaw pressure. A wolf exerts 1700 lbs.
  • Adult male wolves weigh up to 110 pounds, with females usually weighing 10 to 20 pounds less. They may stand up to 32 inches high at the shoulder, and are often 6 to 6 1/2 feet from nose to tail. They usually weigh 15 to 20 pounds more in the winter partially due to a heavier fur coat.
  • Wolves have a double layer of fur. The woolly underlayer grows very thick in the fall and winter and allows wolves to easily survive temperatures well below zero. The outer layer of guard hairs repels snow and water, and keeps the insulating layer dry. During the spring, the thick underfur sheds so the wolf can survive the heat.
  • Wolves are running machines, capable of sustaining a 35 mph run for up to 12 miles or a trot of 12 mph for 8 to 10 hours.

Relocating these wolves and caring for them has been an expensive proposition. You can help defray some of the costs for feeding, medicine, and housing the wolves through various levels of sponsorships for the wolf of your choice.

Fees for visiting the wolves within the observation area at the Preserve (Wolf Watch) are $15 adult, $10 child.


Photos by Dan Bacon.

Photography sessions

Besides the Preserve’s intentions to help perpetuate Canis lupus through public education and awareness, Lakota was created with photography in mind. It is a camera that brought Dan Bacon his first close encounter with a wolf at a game farm in Montana, an experience that inspired him to create his own outdoor photography studio—only better. Their presence and movement through the forest— expressive, magnificent, personable, unspoiled (and perfectly lit)—is a wildlife photographer’s dream.

The number of pictures Bacon has taken of his wolves numbers probably somewhere well into the hundreds of thousands. He was prolific in the days of film, and when digital photography arrived, Dan was an early adopter. If he had his way, and lots of money, he admits he may have kept it all to himself, a private wilderness wonderland. Thank goodness for the rest of us, Lakota was created to share, in order to preserve, the majesty of the Grey Wolf. Dan's best advice for photographers? “Take as many pictures as you can and never let the camera leave your eye.”

Lakota offers private, guided photography sessions that focus on each group, even separate individuals. Through portal openings in the fencing, you can take unobstructed pictures of the wolves as they go about their business, roaming deep in the woods or almost close enough to touch (please don’t!). You’ll get to know each personality and each pack’s dynamic. Sessions are available at any time during the year. Late fall and winter are special though, when the wolves' fur bulks up and they are most energetic.

Photographers have come from all over America, some even from other countries, for the experience. They range from serious amateurs and professionals to point-and-shooters who just want to be as close as possible to the wolves. Many quickly recoup the cost of admission—the faces of Lakota show up in calendars and catalogs, on greeting and post cards, and on executive office and art gallery walls. All come away with pictures that make them proud, delighted with the additions to their personal portfolios and the one-on-one experience with their subjects.

Call toll free for reservations or more information: 1-877-SEE-WOLF. For current rates go to Lakota Wolf website. Current information is also always available on their Facebook page.

Click to see some samples of photographers' work at the Preserve


Photographer websites

Dan Bacon conducts a wolf watch.

Nearby accommodations and attractions

  • Shippen Manor Museum
  • Restored c.1754 stone ironmaster’s home associated with Oxford Furnace. Colonial and Victorian rooms, costumed docents, open-hearth cooking, period music. Open first and second Sundays, 1-4pm. Genealogy library also open Mondays, 9-12. Special programs for schools.

    8 Belvidere Ave, Oxford 07863, 908/453-4381

  • Brook Hollow Farm
  • PYO apples, several varieties including semi-dwarf trees (great for kids). Peaches from our orchards, pumpkins, farm market. Wagon rides on fall weekends. Near the beautiful Delaware Water Gap, Rt 80 ex 4 to Rt 94 N, 3 1/2 mi to Frog Pond Rd. You?ll be glad you found us!

    Frog Pond Rd., Columbia 07832, 908/496-4577

  • Jenny Jump Observatory
  • The UACNJ facilities in Jenny Jump State Forest, near Hope in Warren County, are 1,100 feet above sea level, one of the few dark sky locations left in the state.

    , ,

  • Well-Sweep Herb Farm
  • Formal Elizabethan herb garden, medicinal garden, herb plants, flowering perennials, dried flowers, gift shop. Call for free catalog.

    205 Mt. Bethel Rd, Port Murray 07865, 908/852-5390

  • Delaware River Family Campground
  • Located on the Delaware River near the Delaware Water Gap, where you?ll enjoy raft, canoe, kayak or tube trips, the campground offers trailer and tent campsites as well as trailer and cabin rentals.

    100 Route 46, Columbia 07832, 800/526-2267

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Comments

Jasmine Beck
09 Apr 2015, 21:25
I want a free wolf cub
terry
17 Nov 2014, 14:09
can you add me to your newsletter?
robert ward
26 Jul 2014, 15:26
Me and the family make it a point to visit every fall and then ride to high point. Have been doing so for 3 years in a row,will go again in october.
Trudi
14 Apr 2014, 12:57
Are you open for the season now and what are your hours?
Cory Pasqualetto
19 Nov 2013, 21:53
ive seen wolves runing wild along side the garden state parkway down by LBI exit or down further it was awhile ago
Skylands Visitor
17 May 2012, 06:30
Sandy,\r\nThe wolves are always close to the visitor/watch area and would love to see you!
Sandy
14 May 2012, 20:32
Hello,\r\n My husband is a wolf fanatic! It is his birthday this week and I thought maybe of surprising him to come up by you for a day trip. My only question/concern is the time of year. Whne do you find your wolves to be most out and about so visitors get the most chances to see them? Is this time of year good or is it better at a different time ( like winter, fall or spring?) I look forward to hearing from you soon. Your email does not have to be long, it would be wonderful if you could just let us know when it is best to catch several sitings of them as opposed to not! Thanking you in advance. \r\n Sincerely, Sandy M\r\n Ocean County New Jersey
Skylands Visitor
09 May 2012, 14:03
March to Nov 3, wolf watches begin at 10:30 am and 4:00 pm. In winter, the afternoon watch is at 3pm. You must arrive at 10:00 or 3:30 to register and park your vehicle. Please do not arrive before 9:45 am for the morning watch or before 3:15 pm for the afternoon watch or you will be denied entrance by Camp Taylor.\r\nLakota is closed on Mondays. You should call ahead on weekdays, 1-877-733-9653 or 1-908-496-9244
Sue Mena
09 May 2012, 10:12
Can you tell me if you offer tours for the public. If so, what days and times.\r\n\r\nThanks\r\nSue Mena
MRS WASSEL
21 Apr 2012, 03:58
MY NEICE SENT US YOUR WEB SIT, BEEN READING ABOUT YOUR RESERVE, AND IT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE, WE LOVE WOLVES AND THE WILD LIFE.\r\nSO COULD YOU PLEASE SEND INFO ON HOW TO\r\nGET THERE FROM SCRANTON PA, WE CAN USE MAP QUEST THANKYOU FOR YOUR TIME,\r\n\r\n MRS WAEEL\r\n 1427 CROWN AVE\r\n SCRANTON PA 18505
Silvia
27 Jan 2012, 19:44
Hi, to Phil who posted in January 22, 2012. I stumbled upon this website and I am going to refer you to the Coyote Article. Look closely at the posts from Jan 26 and 27th like yesterday. These two men, different occassion have just say they have each seen huge wolves. 3.5'. Please post there. I'm thinking we may have wolves? Hope we find out more.
Phil Hostetler
22 Jan 2012, 13:16
Hi there! I live in Piscataway NJ and walking to work one I day I startled a group of three wolves just by HWY 287. These were NOT coyotes, nor dogs. Their tails were limp by their legs and very bushy, they had the approriate wolves mane, with excess fat around the neck. I'd say they stood APP. 3.5' to 4' from toes to nose. A friend of mine had a wolf/husky hybrid, these were similar, only larger with more elements of white/brown fur rather than the white/black fur consistent with a wlf/husky hybrid. Lose any specimens recently? Are there wild wolves in the suburbs of NJ? I don't think I was hallucinating... What's your take on all of this?
white wolf
11 Oct 2011, 10:22
hi,i would like to help repair the fences.i live close by.contact me please.
Megan Gerken
09 Oct 2011, 19:11
Hello my name is Megan and im going to school as a veterinary technician. I have always had a passion for animals and my favorite is the wolf. It has always been a dream of mine to work with wolves. I have great respect for them. My question is are u hireing and if not any recommends of how to get a job with wolves?
sharon kelly
12 Sep 2011, 17:42
I have lived in Sussex county for nearly 10 years now. I have seen fox and coyotes but I could swear a large but thin grey wolf jogged right in front of my car on route 515 tonight. Is this possible. I have seen others comment that they have seen wolves in this area too.
vanessa
04 Jan 2011, 06:58
how do you get there and when is the best time to visit..?????
Nancy Schadd
09 Jul 2010, 09:15
We were there last Aug. for the 1st time and just loved what you are doing. We are coming back again this Aug. for another vist. Seeing the wolves was a great experience.
Jessica Rohlfing
25 Nov 2009, 18:42
I love camp taylor and lokota wolf preserve. my favorite wolves were and still are Night Song,Lakota,Black Star, and Teeko! i want to worck there when i get older!!! I love wolves!!!
Skylands Visitor
10 Nov 2009, 06:48
Leslie, If your photo is posted somewhere on the web, send us a link. Or email your photo directly to info@njskylands.com. For bobcat and fox photography call Pam or Dan at 908-735-4244 or email Photography@LakotaWolf.com. There are two foxes and three bobcats and the photo sessions lasts about an hour.
Leslie Cook
09 Nov 2009, 15:58
How can i post photos for the wolves i have taken pictures of. I have one that was a finalist in a photo contest with over 3,500 photos, I would love to share it with all..Thanks Lesie Cook Iam also looking into doing a photo shoot with the fox and bobcat.Wondering how many do you have of them? thanks again.
Amanda.D
18 Sep 2009, 14:08
What do the wolf's eat durning the year?
Charlene Hoffner
06 Sep 2009, 16:58
I was recently at your reserve and was very impressed with the work you are doing there. I was wondering what plans you have to continue your work in the future. I am in the process of re-writing my will and have been looking for worth wild animal rescue establishments which I could help out. I have no family and had a part wolf pet with my foster family and recently lost my pet cocker and will try to help out the local s.p.c.a. I greatly admire your comment to the wolves and would love to be that committed to something. Please let me know if this is something you might be interested in. I'm not sure what information I would need to move forward if you are interested.\r\n\r\nEither way thanks for the nice tour and all you do to help those wonderful animals. Best of luck and keep up the good work.
Charles Miller
08 Jun 2009, 06:35
\r\n Do you have to make an appointment during the week. What about weekends?\r\n
Monique
10 Nov 2008, 13:40
Just visted on the 8th of November and it was great! Even with the rainy day it all worked out great! The wolves were beautiful and the fox and bobcat were a great added bonus. I would reccomend the 3pm tour it worked out so great. Thanks for doing what you do! Keep it up.
Bill
29 Aug 2008, 17:52
Are you wheelchair accessible?
Diane Tomarchio
16 Aug 2008, 11:28
I'd like to do some NJ day trips and see some of the interesting things in NJ, how do you tell me what is interesting for me to do?????? Thanks!
kevin saunders
13 Aug 2008, 17:49
whats your address??? i cant find it
MARY FITZSIMMONS
22 Jun 2008, 09:41
What are the feeding times?\r\n\r\nThank you.
nj
25 Jan 2008, 19:19
89 Mt. Pleasant Road, Columbia, NJ 07832
Patricia Buschow
08 Jan 2008, 10:43
Can you give me an address, so I can do a MapQuest from Tafton, PA 18464. My daughter is talking about coming up from Bergen Cty. and see you place would be a wonderful family day.\r\n\r\nThank you, Pat Buschow
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