Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wildlife signs to go up near Hailey

Winter ranges deemed crucial to deer and elk

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey is teaming up with the BLM and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to post signs on the northeast edge of the city to educate hikers and bikers about sensitive wildlife species in the area.
    The signs will be posted on city rights of way at the Hangman’s Trail trailhead in Old Cutters subdivision and at the mouth of Quigley Canyon.
    The signage effort began as a class project for Hailey resident Lili Simpson, a Blaine County Planning and Zoning commissioner who is pursuing a master’s degree in natural resource management at Oregon State University.
    Her goal was to post a sign in Old Cutters, but the city got on board with plans for another sign at Quigley Canyon. The Hailey City Council voted Monday to spend $2,000 on the signs, which will cost a total of $5,776.
    “These are non-regulatory signs,” Simpson said. “But they are educational. They encourage use of trails on the flats during winter. I have a real interest in helping mule deer populations. They have been in decline all over the West, due mostly to habitat fragmentation.”

The area doesn’t have a lot of visual cover that wildlife can hide in.”
Lili Simpson
Hailey resident

    During the review several years ago of an application to develop hundreds of homes in Quigley Canyon, the Department of Fish and Game identified private and public land in the area as “critical wintering range” for mule deer and elk.
    Simpson said hiking in winter on Radio Tower Hill Trail, at the mouth of Quigley Canyon, would be preferable to hiking into Hangman‘s Trail, Deadman Gulch or other smaller trails that have proliferated on BLM land northeast of Hailey.
    “The area doesn’t have a lot of visual cover that wildlife can hide in,” Simpson said. “Previous ridges and drainages that they have retreated to are now used by the public. In winter, this becomes life-threatening.”
Tony Evans:

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