July 12, 2016
I am pleased to see the non profit, Save People Save Wildlife bringing attention to the number of animal and vehicle collisions from the Jeremy Ranch exit up to Parley’s Summit.
The fact that there is not a fence there is obviously a hazard for people and animals. The areas of fencing UDOT has already installed along Interstate 80 and Route 40 have prevented a substantial number of vehicle/animal collisions by stopping most animals from attempting to cross these very busy roads. I would like to acknowledge and applaud the effort already put forward to save lives, human and animal.
When that fencing was installed I thought the problem had been solved. I have now come to realize that what it has created is a fenced island for these animals on either side of these busy roads. Wildlife both predator and prey, need ways to access larger tracts of land to maintain a healthy gene pool and an ecological balance.
Many people can remember seeing the countless animals killed along Interstate 80 and US 40 before these fences were installed. Typically you would see animals in the same general areas along these roads that were killed while attempting to cross.
One solution to assist the wild animal population is the construction of Wildlife Corridors. They are animal friendly over passes and under passes constructed on roads that inhibit access to other areas of wildlife habitat. The corridors are built in areas where the animals tend to want to cross, and allow them to safely access land needed with out having to cross major lanes of traffic on highways. The structures are quite beautiful with natural trees, shrubs and vegetation to make it a comfortable, desirable area for the animals to use.
I recently saw a Wildlife Corridor near Banff, Canada. I must say it left me with such a positive feeling for that area. These corridors mitigate the impact our road systems have on the wildlife and are providing ways for animals to migrate across the barriers we have installed that are convenient for our lifestyle. Wildlife Corridors are also being built in areas of our country where people realize wildlife need assistance to remain healthy and viable as we continue to move into areas of their habitat.
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John Gleason of UDOT said they are working with Summit County and the Division of Wildlife Resources to try to find solutions to the issue of animals being killed on the roads in our area. Hopefully UDOT, Summit County and the Division of Wildlife Resources will continue to install protective fencing and add the building of Wildlife Corridors. This would result in a more sustainable solution to mitigate the impact we have on the natural world that surrounds us and allow
wildlife to move over greater distance as nature intended.
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