Have you ever wondered why wildlife cross the road and what you can do to help them do it safely? Join Rocky Mountain Wild and Denver Zoo to learn more about efforts to reconnect important wildlife habitat in the Vail Pass Wildlife Byway between Copper Mountain and the top of Vail Pass.
The Vail Pass Wildlife Byway on Interstate 70, between Copper Mountain Resort and the top of Vail Pass, was recently identified by Summit County Safe Passages as a top priority area in which to focus wildlife mitigation efforts in the near term. The Byway lies entirely within the White River National Forest and provides important habitat for several wildlife species including mule deer, elk, moose, black bear, mountain lion and one of the few known breeding populations of Canada lynx in Colorado outside the southwest corner of the state. Yet up to 22,000 vehicles a day on this stretch of I-70 present a significant barrier to wildlife movement, with many animals no longer attempting to cross the roadway. Those that do, often do so unsuccessfully.
Join us for a day in the field with wildlife experts to learn more about Summit County Safe Passages and the effort to reconnect Vail Pass. We will accompany biologists from Rocky Mountain Wild and Denver Zoo to their field research site, where we will check wildlife cameras and learn about an on-going citizen science project that aims to understand how roads, specifically I-70, act as a barrier for wildlife. We will explore what it takes to build a wildlife overpass near this spot, learn about the collaborators in this special project and you can ask all your wildest wildlife questions.
Participants will meet at the rest area at the top of Vail Pass where transportation will be provided to guide participants through the Vail Pass Wildlife Byway. We will hike a moderate distance to check cameras that are part of an active wildlife monitoring study and spend a few minutes restoring the area by picking up trash that has accumulated along the highway, reducing its harmful impacts to wildlife.
This event is made possible through funding from the National Environmental Education Foundation and Toyota Motor North America. Participates must 16 years or older and able to hike moderate distances at high elevation on uneven terrain.