Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Valley needs wildlife crossings on highway

Fish and Game’s Mike Todd stated that he didn’t “think” elk would like or use overpasses or underpasses on state Highway 75—however, the facts would prove him very wrong. From New Jersey to Florida, Montana, Nevada and Canada, wildlife over- and underpasses have been proven (with research, cameras, track plates, and even wire snags for DNA analysis of hair samples) to indeed work very well. The only caveat is that some fencing needs to be maintained in the general area.
    With statistics gathered by State Farm Insurance showing 2.4 million motor vehicle collisions with deer alone in this country (that’s one collision every 26 seconds), costing anywhere from $5 billion to $8 billion as well as approximately 200 human fatalities, the choice to “cull” the herd is not a real answer, just a way out.
    Every year, just in our valley alone, we consistently take away from the fabric that makes this a beautiful place. Everyone only thinks about the little bit that they’re taking; an easement, a wetlands relocation, a widening of the highway for the great benefit of a shorter commute time, and so on. But every “little” thing takes away more and more.
    Roads in the United States impact at least one-fifth of the country’s natural ecology. Is it not possible for us to give back just a little? I would respectfully suggest that the Blaine County Wildlife Crossing Subcommittee recommend to ITD to build and maintain two wildlife crossings between Hailey and Ketchum.
Lara McLean

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