Have you ever wondered why wildlife cross the road and what you can do to help them do it safely? Join Summit County Safe Passages’ partners 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 morning in the field to learn more about Summit County Safe Passages and the effort to reconnect Vail Pass. We will hear from agency and organizational partners about the importance of the area and accompany biologists from Rocky Mountain Wild and Denver Zoo to their field research site. Here, we will check a wildlife camera 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 trailhead just past the Conoco gas station at the Copper Mountain exit where transportation will be provided to guide participants through the Vail Pass Wildlife Byway. We will hike a short distance to check a camera that is part of an active wildlife monitoring study.
When: Wednesday, September 18, 9 am-12 pm or Thursday, September 19, 9 am-12 pm
Where: Meet at the trailhead just past Conoco gas station at the Copper Mountain exit. From I-70, take exit 195 (Copper Mountain and Leadville, CO 91).
Register: The event is FREE, but space is limited: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vail-pass-wildlife-byway-monitoring-field-days-tickets-69493018489
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.