This time last year, the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance held an open house to celebrate the hard work of those that were involved with the Wildlife Crossings Master Plan. Commissioned by the County, the Master Plan is a comprehensive study that identifies priority sites where wildlife crossing structures can best protect both people and wildlife (and their vital migration routes!).
Please join us at the County Commissioner’s Chambers (200 S. Willow) on Monday, May 7 at 11a.m. to celebrate this important milestone. This County Commission Workshop will be an opportunity to learn about the proposed structures, where they would go, what they would look like, and who they would benefit. To save you from the suspense of the latter question: they benefit everyone!
Sign up to join us at the County Commission meeting on Monday (and a pre-workshop breakfast celebration) and/or to learn how to write your local elected representative in favor of the Plan. Alliance Wildlife Crossings Field Organizer Ryan Nourai will follow up with more information.
When the original volunteer group formed, they were motivated by staggering numbers of dead animals on Teton County roads, and those numbers have not improved in the years since. From May 2016 to April 2017, 362 wildlife-vehicle collisions occurred on Teton County Roads, including 48 elk, 18 moose, 271 deer, as well as bears, big horn sheep, countless small mammals, and others. Wildlife-vehicle collisions pose a risk to our families, and our roads cut off key migration corridors. Furthermore, wildlife collisions cost Teton County tax payers approximately $3 million from May 2016 to April 2017, and 1 in 5 Wyoming highway accidents involve wildlife. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can protect wildlife and our families by making it safer for wildlife to cross the road.
The best thing about wildlife crossings is that they work. In Wyoming, Montana, and Canada, wildlife crossings have reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by nearly 90 percent. The Trapper’s Point project near Pinedale, including six underpasses and two overpasses, has become world-renowned for reducing pronghorn and mule deer collisions and for protecting the “path of the pronghorn” migration route.
With astounding winter collision numbers not too far behind us, the Safe Wildlife Crossings Campaign is gearing up for a summer where the community can get together and embrace a conservation-based cause. Thanks to the proactive efforts of partners and Commissioners, May 7 marks the beginning of our joint effort to make sure wildlife and our community can exist in balance.
Give us a call, an email, a smoke signal, or sign up here; we would love to let you know how to participate in this process.
Wildlife Crossings Field Organizer