Colorado group looking for solutions to vehicle-wildlife collisions

Wild Aware wants CDOT and CPW to address concerns about Highway 74

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According to most recent roadkill data from CDOT, Highway 74 was 3% of total miles included in the report, yet had 27.7% of elk fatalities overall. The highest concentration of fatalities was the stretch from Hiwan Country Club to Evergreen Lake.

Wild Aware, a group of residents in Colorado advocating for the safe coexistence of wildlife and humans, has explored several options with CDOT and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to mitigate this problematic area, according to Christie Greene, founder of Wild Aware.

“This issue has been looked into and we have hit a wall,” Greene said.

Most recently, a wildlife-underpass option connecting the neighborhoods surrounding Stagecoach Park along Highway 74 was considered. 

However, according to information from CPW, the consensus between CDOT and CPW was that the project would not continue.

“We have to accept for the moment that that project won't move forward," Greene said.

However, Greene is advocating to reopen the conversation around the stretch of highway she knows to be dangerous, and people feel unsafe traveling this way.

“This goes right through the heart of our town, but we're looking at it from the position of feeling unsafe, feeling worried,” she said.

“CPW views the current (elk) herd size and level of conflict as `acceptable' relative to levels 20 years ago, although it recognizes that conflict is ongoing on Highway 74 and elsewhere and wildlife-vehicle collisions are a safety issue,” said CPW's Jason Clay.

In official comments on the matter to CDOT and other groups, CPW says it is using a roadkill monitoring app, and has “invested significant time and resources in habitat projects on Bergen Peak State Wildlife Area and Mount Evans State Wildlife Area with one goal being to attract elk west of Evergreen.”

Greene reminds residents that the most dangerous time for collisions is one hour before dusk and dawn, and that November and December are prime months for vehicle collisions with elk and deer.

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