Park City police monitor elk herd along entryway amid worries about a collision |

Park City police monitor elk herd along entryway amid worries about a collision

There was a series of reports of the animals close to S.R. 224 in area of McPolin Farm

An elk herd spent several days last week in the area of the McPolin Farm, leading some drivers to stop to take pictures and drawing attention from the police. There are frequent wildlife sightings on the City Hall-owned open space along S.R. 224.
Jay Hamburger/Park Record

A herd of elk spent several days last week in the area of the McPolin Farm, drawing attention from drivers and concern from the Park City Police Department about the possibility of an accident between a vehicle and the animals.

The elk were visible at many points stretching into last weekend. The main herd appeared to remain a distance from S.R. 224, but animals were also seen along the road itself. Drivers were seen stopping on the side of the state highway to take pictures or slowing down in the travel lanes to glance at the herd.

The McPolin Farm, a swath of City Hall-owned open space that acts to separate Park City from development in the Snyderville Basin, is frequently the location of wildlife sightings. It is rare, though, for a herd to be seen there or for one to remain for an extended period.

Police Department logs indicated the agency received reports from the public about the elk or officers observed the animals themselves on Oct. 14, Oct. 15 and Oct. 16.

Some of the cases included:

• on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7:14 p.m., elk were seen “standing in the road” along S.R. 224. The animals left the road shortly after the report, the police said.

• on Oct. 16 at 6:08 p.m., elk were seen in the area of the intersection of S.R. 224 and Meadows Drive. The person who contacted the police indicated it appeared the elk would attempt to cross the road that night and requested the police post signs.

• on Oct. 16 at approximately 2:47 p.m., the police conducted patrols on S.R. 224 based on “multiple wildlife related incidents.”

• on Oct. 16 at 7:31 a.m., elk were reported to be attempting to cross the road in the area of the intersection of S.R. 224 and Meadows Drive.

• on Friday, Oct. 15 at 10:27 a.m., elk were seen close to the McPolin Farm attempting to cross S.R. 224. The police found the animals were “way up in the field” and not close to the road, according to department logs.

• on Oct. 15 at 12:43 a.m., an elk or multiple ones were seen crossing the road at the intersection of S.R. 224 and Meadows Drive. The police said the animal or animals created a traffic hazard.

• on Thursday Oct. 14 at 10:39 p.m., an officer monitoring the elk on S.R. 224 wanted a Utah Highway Patrol trooper to respond to assist in closing at least one southbound lane. The police said an officer monitored the elk herd for several hours as the animals crossed the road.

• on Oct. 14 at 8:41 p.m., between 30 and 40 elk were seen along S.R. 224. The police were told it appeared that the animals were readying to cross the state highway.

It is likely the season’s first significant snows contributed to the number of sightings. The animals typically move to the lower elevations foraging for vegetation as their food source when snow arrives at the upper elevations.

The section of S.R. 224 as it passes the McPolin Farm has long been notorious for collisions involving drivers and wildlife. Deer, elk and other wildlife inhabit the mountainous terrain on the fringe of the open space and on the land on the other side of S.R. 224. The animals are vulnerable as they move from one side of the heavily traveled S.R. 224 to the other. Steps have been taken to reduce the danger to people and animals, such as lowering the speed limit on S.R. 224, but the collisions are continuing.

The police, meanwhile, also received a report of a driver hitting a deer on S.R. 224 on Oct. 16 at 1:43 a.m. The police were told the car could not move afterward. There were also two moose sightings on Oct. 13. Once was late in the afternoon on Sidewinder Drive while the other, involving two moose, was in the morning in the area of a bus stop in the vicinity of Sidewinder Drive and Buffalo Bill Drive.

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