This is wildlife overpass construction East of Wells, Nevada. Note the environmental destruction that it takes to create these monstrosities. Also, these particular overpasses are being built in a barren, flat, uninhabited area unlike the Targhee Pass terrain that does have residential areas and businesses. Picture in your mind how much of Targhee Pass would be destroyed forever with this type of land destruction. How would this construction affect the wetlands in the area? Is that what you want?
A couple of weeks ago Patsy and I took a long (3000 miles) road trip to Denver, Colorado and then to San Ramon, California. Much of the drive was on Interstate 80. East of Wells, Nevada we encountered three wildlife overpasses and miles of tall mesh fencing. All of these crossed Interstate 80 and were in the middle of nowhere in the high desert. There were no homes in the area. The first was in a very large sage brush covered valley and was very noticeable because there was nothing else there. The second was just a few miles away in a rock canyon. This overpass certainly disturbed the view scape. The third was also just a few miles from the first and second overpasses. It was under construction. The pre-stressed concrete arches had already been placed and there was a large track hoe on the side of it moving soil around. This was causing allot of blowing dust and dirt. The wind blows in Nevada. However, the thing that stuck me most was the large staging area at each end of the overpass. These areas were being used by heavy equipment. Dump trucks were delivering soil to each end of the overpass. The natural environment was totally destroyed for well over 100 feet on each side. There were no wet lands in the area that could be destroyed or a creek that could be damaged with sediment. This is not the case at Targhee Pass on US 20 in Island Park. The potential for damage is very great, especially with heavy rains like we have encounter on the past few weeks. It could be an environmental disaster.
We encounter the last three overpasses, on the return trip, North of Wells on US 93. Again, they were in the middle of nowhere, a few miles apart, no homes present in the area, and miles of tall, mesh, wildlife fencing. Part of this area gave me an appreciation for Joe Sielinsky’s comments about the wildlife fencing in the Banff area of Canada. Where the tall fencing was close to the road, you felt like you were in prison. I hated it. It was very confining and not welcoming.
There are probably appropriate locations for wildlife overpasses, but US 20 in Island Park is not one of them. The people of Island Park should fight the desecration on our beautiful and inviting recreation area. Island Park is not a high desert, in the middle of nowhere, with no homes present. Quite the contrary.
Reprinted with permission from the IP News June 28, 2018 issue