What Are These?

You’ll came across six of these special overpasses when driving between Canmore, Alberta, and the British Columbia border.

For some 90 Kilometres/55 Miles, high, page-wire fences completely line both sides of the Trans-Canada Highway #1. They were erected to help prevent wildlife and vehicle collisions on this very popular and busy road which winds through, Banff National Park.

I read the fences have reduced animal fatalities by more than 80%, and for deer and elk the percentage is closer to 96%.

The unique overpasses like pictured above are natural terrain crossings. Built strictly for and used by wildlife.

The first two of the six to open were constructed in 1996-97 when the highway widening project began. At that time they were the only ones of the kind in the world. The rest were built as the road work continued.

What you may not notice while driving this road, (even we didn’t realize the number and we travel the path often), is there are 38 wildlife crossings which go under the four lane, divided highway.

As of 2012, eleven large species, grizzly and black bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, moose, deer, elk, big horn sheep, wolverines, and lynx, have been recorded using the wildlife crossings. Plus, I think I read somewhere 108 small species.

Elk were the first to use the crossings. Some of the timid species like grizzly bears and wolves took up to five years to get comfortable enough to use them.

They discovered interesting data by monitoring crossing activity. For instance, grizzly bears, elk, moose and deer prefer high, wide and short in length crossings. Black bears, cougars, and mountain lions, prefer low, long and narrow crossings.

At the time of the projects completion, Banff National Park had the most numerous and varied wildlife crossing structures in the world. I’m not sure if they still hold that title.

Across the border in British Columbia the adjoining, Yoho National Park, also has fenced sections and wildlife crossings. Their newest overpass being a massive 60 meter/197 ft. wide one completed and opened in 2018. This is the widest of its kind to date. They have a couple smaller ones too, plus, I believe three under road crossings.

Sorry the picture isn’t brighter and clearer, but mother-natures skies, bugs, rain and snapping while moving made it difficult.

Have you seen special animal crossings on any road you’ve driven?

Have you heard of, or driven through, “Banff National Park” in Alberta, Canada?

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