We all know that the I-70 Mountain Corridor is a unique and special place, filled with a wide diversity of sensitive ecosystems and wildlife. To strive towards the sustainability of Colorado’s wilder places, we must tread lightly and invest in ways to mitigate our impacts. Rocky Mountain Wild works to protect, connect, and restore wildlife and wild lands in the Southern Rocky Mountain region. Today, we have an amazing project to share:
The I-70 Mountain Corridor stretches 144 miles from Golden to Glenwood Springs. Through that span, the highway crosses five bioregions and areas of enormous wildlife concentration and biodiversity while connecting people to Colorado’s most popular recreation areas. The dark and unfortunate news that you may not be aware of, is that over 300 animals a year are hit trying to cross this 144 mile stretch of road. From bighorn sheep, to elk, deer, bears, lynx, and beyond – native species are unable to get across the lanes of asphalt, concrete barriers, and racing vehicles. Potentially even more impactful – most animals have to avoid crossing I-70 at all times. This has severed their traditional and essential patterns of movement through the Rockies, and detrimentally forced an unnatural adaptation.
There is however, good news to share. After years of study, CDOT identified and approved a site on I-70 to build the area’s first wildlife overpass! This site is located at milepost 192.3 on the east side of Vail Pass, and would reconnect habit from the Eagles Nest Wilderness on the north side of the road, with the Holy Cross Wilderness on the south side of the road. Rocky Mountain Wild – with generous contributions from Vail Resorts – has secured seed funding to begin the design and engineering process for the crossing structure! More funds are needed to finalize the design and start construction, so please consider donating by clicking here! Once following the link, select “Vail Pass Wildlife Byway” next to the “Direct My Donation” label.
To continue your education and engagement with I-70’s vast array of wildlife, check out the Wild I-70 Audio Tour. It can linked to and downloaded by following this link, or you can also come see it at the Museum of Boulder from now through May; it is currently being featured as a listening booth in the Living With Wolves exhibit.
Please consider sharing this message, getting involved with Rocky Mountain Wild, and contributing to this wonderful project!
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