Ensuring Utahns Both Two, and Four Legged Can Explore Our Landscapes Safely

WHAT WE DO

Baby moose

Protecting Our Wildlife:

If wildlife cannot move between habitats freely to find food, water, and mates, they will perish. Utah’s roads, highways and freeways serve as a treacherous man -made barrier to our wildlife. It is estimated that 6,000-10,000 deer die on Utah roads annually. This number does not account for other native wildlife that are regularly struck and killed by motor vehicles such as elk, moose, pronghorn and desert tortoise. By building wildlife crossings with corresponding fencing, we are not only preventing wildlife vehicle collisions, but allowing Utah’s wildlife to move safely across the landscape in search of the critical resources necessary for their survival.

Damaged car front end with antler stuck, from hitting deer

Protecting Our Motorists:

Between 2008- 2017 there was an average of 3,110 crashes reported in Utah with 2,756, or 88.6%, of those crashes resulting from collisions with wildlife. These wildlife-vehicle collisions result in death, injury, and approximately $138 million annually in costs to our motorists. Wildlife crossings, along with corresponding fencing, cattle guards, and wildlife escape ramps, have been demonstrated to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions by up to 90% where they have been placed.

Downtown Park City

Protecting Our Economy:

Utah is home to some of the most breath-taking landscapes and charismatic wildlife in the entire United States- and the world knows it too. Utah’s outdoor recreation industry is responsible for contributing approximately $12.3 billion annually to our economy, while providing over 110,000 jobs to Utahs that supply $3.9 billion in wages and salaries. It is no secret that the health of our wildlife and our landscapes are crucial to our economy. By investing in wildlife crossings and corresponding fencing, we are reconnecting landscapes that will allow Utah’s native wildlife and biodiversity to thrive, preserving them for generations to come.

Construction worker on project

Protecting Our Workers:

It is no secret Utah was hit hard by the pandemic. Our city, state, and local governments need to focus their policy efforts into-rebooting our economy. Investment in Wildlife crossings and other wildlife mitigation measures will help create well-paying jobs for hundreds of hard-working Utahns through the creation of infrastructure projects. We believe that if our state is going to spend taxpayer dollars, those dollars should go to projects that will not only save Utahns money, but also provide them with well-paying jobs so they can support their families and recover from the effects of the pandemic.

Why Wildlife Crossings?

Did you know that approximately 1,000,000 vertebrates are struck and killed by motor vehicles in the U.S. every day? Every year, an estimated 200 people will die, 26,000 will be injured and $8 billion in property damage will be incurred due to these accidents.

However, studies have shown that wildlife crossings are a cost- effective and science based approach to eliminating these deadly, costly, and most importantly, unnecessary collisions.

Excerpts from Letters of support

- Ann D.

“…Animals absolutely need safe passage routes across SR 224 to keep them and the roads safe. “

- Laura R.

“…PLEASE help save people and wildlife.  The wildlife killed along 224 is just devastating.    As I am writing this to help support action to build a safe passage… PLEASE help support a safe passage for them to cross 224 safely!  …an elk was recently killed on 224 when an Uber drive with a local passenger from the Sundance Festival hit the elk. Luckily no injuries to those people in the vehicle, but it is only a matter of time until someone is killed. PLEASE help support a safe passage for wildlife to help save people! I’ve lived in Park City for 8 ½ years. The wildlife among us is a tremendous part of what makes this area so special. This is a mountain town and we should do everything possible to help protect OUR wildlife here. It’s the right thing to do.” 

- Kathryn D.

“Please help me to keep my heart from breaking any further.  Every time I see a dead animal lying along a highway I have a physical reaction in my chest.  It is my heart breaking over the presence of another animal killed by a car just for trying to cross a highway to return to his herd, his offspring or his bedding area…I have concerns over the widening of State Hwy 224…As our human population has been exploding…It is imperative that planning be implemented immediately to build a structure that ensures the safety of our wildlife migrating throughout our county especially now on Hwy 224. An overpass constructed over I80 has ensured that animals migrate to and from their places of habitat safely.  This is also a human issue to spare (the) lives of drivers involved in animal/vehicle related accidents…Wildlife is one of our treasures; let’s ensure their lives and their future with our human awareness of our ability to do this.  Thank you.” 

- Liz L.

“We can’t turn back the clock and take back the highway and cars (sigh) but we can provide fencing and a viable crossing to protect the wildlife we have left.  It’s the right thing to do, what are we waiting for?  This should have been done years ago.” 

- Jean T.

“As there are plans to widen SR 224 including a fast bus lane, It is critical that these plans include permanent and effective solutions including fencing and at least one wildlife crossing to protect  both our wildlife and motorists… Now is the perfect time to do something.   Create a safe passage for wildlife on SR 224 while we can and incorporate it with any plans to “improve” this road.  I heard that our Park City officials are concerned that a crossing and fencing will be an eyesore.  First of all, we should care more about the people and animals affected by these collisions which will worsen if we do nothing.  Secondly, widening the road is an eyesore in itself especially if it is littered with decaying carcasses.   I am sure people will be more amazed with Park City if they see what positive things we are doing to help this world like making a wildlife crossing and protecting these animals for future generations to enjoy.”  

- Brett G.

“I support safe passage for wildlife on SR 224, so we will be able to see more beautiful wildlife.”

- David and Susan A.

“We were both born in Utah and have lived in Park City for over 10 years. We carry Utah drivers licenses and own property and pay taxes in Park City.  We are very concerned about the safety of our wildlife and their safe passage across , over or under roads like 224. In spite of all the low cost efforts people, some locals, some workers, some visitors still drive well above the speed limit on our roads. Widening the road without fencing and safe passage efforts will only increase the death of our area wildlife.  WE NEED FENCING AND WILDLIFE CROSSINGS on 224 !…”

- Marion K.

“…It is unconscionable that we care so little for them (wildlife) that a wildlife crossing is not included in the plans to widen S.R. 224.  A wildlife passage is only a small percentage of the total cost of that extra lane and would make a huge difference in the protection of our wildlife and prevention of collisions…I urge you to think about the compelling reasons to include safe wildlife passage in your plans for S.R.224.”

- Tara K.

“I support safe passage for wildlife, myself, and my fellow citizens.  I saw the dead elk on the side of 224 near the blue roof gas station.  Sad.  It’s just luck that a human wasn’t killed.  Also, nice introduction to Park City for all the Sundance visitors.  “Welcome to Slaughter Town USA!”  We can do better as a community.

Let’s get a win-win and be a leader for safe passage for wildlife and ourselves!”  

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