Perhaps no human “invention” has had such a negative impact on the natural world as roads.
That is the thesis of a remarkable new book, “Crossings – How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of our Planet.”
Written by environmental journalist, Ben Goldfarb, and released this past Tuesday, September 12, by Norton, the book’s publisher, the book is a treasure trove of facts, observations, analyses, and insights about the design, building, reverence towards – and often resentment of – roads in the US and around the world.
It is also a road map – no pun intended – for how we can conceive, design and build roads that don’t eradicate wildlife, that sustain habitat, and that can improve the path to a greater coexistence between roads and the natural world.
There are startling observations in the book.
- There are mountain lions that roam Beverly Hills and surrounding areas, thanks to changes to LA’s highway systems.
- A million animals are killed each day on roads in the United States alone.
- The world’s largest road network belongs to the US Forest Service.
- Not surprisingly, one of the greatest challenges in the National Park Service is the conflict between the wildlife that visitors cherish seeing and road noise that drives wildlife to ever more remote areas in the parks.
The nascent science of road ecology offers hope that many of the challenges that roads impose upon our natural world can be diminished, solved or repaired. But that hope relies on a greater cooperation between road designers and builders and the stewards of and advocates for our natural world. As we embark on the NEPA process with WYDOT on WY 22 and Tribal Trails, we hope that the evolving discipline of road ecology is part of the process.
The Conservation Alliance is hosting a discussion by the book’s author at Spring Creek Ranch on September 26th at 6:00 PM. There will be a book sale and signing, provided by Jackson Hole Book Trader. The event is free and refreshments will be available.
We hope to see our conservation friends there.