Park City police log vehicle-animal collisions, other wildlife issues
There were elk seen along S.R. 224 in late April.
And there were several collisions involving drivers in Park City and wildlife in the past 10 days.
But a report to the Park City Police Department of a herd of 100 or more moose was almost certainly a case of mistaken identity of a species.
The Police Department in the last days of April received a series of reports involving wildlife. It appeared to be one of the largest concentrations of cases in recent months. The animals were seen in places like the S.R. 224 entryway, Park Avenue, Kearns Boulevard and American Saddler Drive. Some of the reports to the police involved the same herd of elk.
Phil Kirk, a police captain, said the elk spent time last week grazing just off S.R. 224 across the state highway from the McPolin Farm. Kirk said police officers who responded to at least several of the wildlife sightings ensured the animals did not pose a danger to traffic.
“There’s not too much we can do. I’m not sure what we could do,” Kirk said.
He said officers monitor the animals in an effort to avoid an accident between wildlife and drivers. They also inform the state Division of Wildlife Resources.
Some of the cases last week included:
• repeated reports of elk along S.R. 224. In one of the cases, logged at 7:56 p.m., on Sunday, April 29, approximately 30 elk were seen close to the intersection of S.R. 224 and Meadows Drive. They appeared to be preparing to cross the state highway, the police were told. A little later, at 8:42 p.m., elk were seen along S.R. 224 seeming to be ready to cross. Two days earlier, at 11 p.m. on Friday, April 27, an officer stopped traffic at the S.R. 224–Meadows Drive intersection as an elk herd crossed the state highway.
• on Sunday, April 29 at 7:39 p.m., an injured deer was reported on American Saddler Drive. Public police logs indicated the deer needed to be euthanized as a result of the injury.
• on Friday, April 27 at 9:50 p.m., a car reportedly hit a deer on Park Avenue. The deer ran away, but the vehicle suffered unspecified damage. A little bit earlier, at 9:08 p.m., a driver hit a deer at or close to the intersection of Deer Valley Drive and Park Avenue.
• on April 27 at 8:59 p.m., a moose was seen in the vicinity of the intersection of Kearns Boulevard and Snow Creek Drive. An officer responded to guard against traffic issues if the moose attempted to cross a street.
• on Thursday, April 26 at 3:05 a.m., a deer, apparently with a leg injury, was seen walking across Park Avenue.
One of the other cases reported to the Police Department appears to have involved a wrongly identified species. The Police Department on April 27 at 8:13 p.m. received a report of someone seeing “at least 100 moose” close to the road along S.R. 224. The animals appeared to be readying to cross, the police were told. Moose do not typically move in herds that large. Kirk said the animals were likely elk.
At least one accident involving an animal occurred in Park City last week. It was reported late on April 27 on S.R. 224 when a southbound 2012 Nissan Rogue driven by a 24-year-old woman from Park City ran into an elk. The driver was not injured, but the vehicle sustained considerable damage and required a tow. Kirk said the elk was badly injured and a police officer put the animal down.
Elk and deer are plentiful in the Park City area, and there is a moose population as well. The Police Department regularly receives wildlife reports, but the cluster of cases in late April was unusual.
Phil Douglass, the state Division of Wildlife Resources outreach manager, said younger moose are forced to fend for themselves in the spring and are “finding their own territories” as they move about. He said there is typically more wildlife activity as the weather warms.
“Springtime. It’s the time of year when animals are becoming more active, spreading around,” Douglass said.
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A group of people that appeared to largely represent Park City’s development and real estate industries joined family members of the late United Park City Mines President Hank Rothwell on Wednesday as a road was named in his honor. It was a tribute to a key figure in the great growth battles of the 1990s.