U S 26 Wildlife Crossings Advance in WY with Heavy Summer season Site visitors / Public Information Service

Individuals are hitting the street for summer time trip, and plenty of will probably be headed to Grand Teton and Yellowstone Nationwide Parks by way of U.S. Freeway 26.

Daryl Lutz – Lander area wildlife administration coordinator with the Wyoming Sport and Fish Division – stated biologists and Division of Transportation engineers are narrowing in on plans to cut back wildlife automobile collisions alongside a 35 mile stretch close to Dubois.

Lutz stated state-of-the-art radio International Positioning System collars helped finalize one of the best spots for wildlife crossings.


“Actually tens of 1000’s of location datapoints,” stated Lutz, “from elk, mule deer and bighorn sheep. That has helped us delineate the place wildlife most often strategy and/or cross the freeway.”

Wildlife-vehicle collisions alongside this part of Freeway 26 kill as much as 250 animals annually, at a value of greater than $800,000 in property harm, emergency response and cleanup.

After engineering plans are set – Lutz stated they anticipate staff to interrupt floor on one overpass, three underpasses, and modifications to 4 different buildings inside the subsequent 12 months or two.


Tourism and recreation is Wyoming’s second-largest business, adding $1.7 billion to the state’s economy in 2019.

Grand Teton Nationwide Park superintendent Chip Jenkins stated a big a part of that financial exercise depends upon robust wildlife populations.


“Individuals coming to see, individuals coming to hunt, individuals coming to {photograph} wildlife,” stated Jenkins. “So, these wildlife migration corridors are completely vital to keep up, not only for the well being of the ecosystem but additionally for serving to to assist the state’s financial system.”

Lutz stated whereas overpasses and fencing that separate animals from autos are costly, they allow herds to keep up entry to vital habitat on either side of the street. He stated he believes they’re a great funding.


“It is anticipated that we are going to have paid for them, given the variety of collisions that occur and the prices related to these collisions, in about 30 years,” stated Lutz. “After which the longevity of these buildings is at the least 75 years.”

Help for this reporting was offered by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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