Friday, December 21, 2012

School nixes ungulate idea

ITD not favorable to highway silhouettes of wildlife


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Third-graders at Hailey Elementary School are trying to protect elk such as these that live in the East Fork area and all too frequently cross back and forth on state Highway 75. Photo by Mountain Express

Hailey Elementary School has decided against a plan by third-graders to place silhouettes of elk and other ungulates along state Highway 75 as a reminder to drivers that wildlife frequently cross the roadway.

Word of the cancellation came Wednesday from school Principal Tom Bailey, who said the idea does not seem favorable to the Idaho Transportation Department or to the owners of property where the silhouettes might have been placed.

“These were third-graders who were trying to do a public service, but we’re not going to do anything that’s contrary to the property owners or ITD,” Bailey said.

Building and placing life-size silhouettes of deer, elk and moose was part of plan by some 90 Hailey third-grade students to call attention to the high mortality of animals on Highway 75 and to remind drivers to slow down at wildlife crossings.

Another part of the plan was making and selling bumper stickers showing elk and deer and stating “Keep Them Alive on 75.” Bailey said that part of the program has been successful in calling attention to the plight of wildlife when animals attempt to cross the highway.

The third-graders raised about $500 through a baked-goods sale that was used to pay for making 250 bumper stickers that they are selling for $3 each. The $750 raised from bumper sticker sales was to be used for making the wildlife silhouettes.

Bailey said the school has no immediate plans for how proceeds from the bumper sticker sales will now be used.

“We’re probably just going to stick with the bumper stickers and leave it at that,” he said.

Confirmation of ITD’s concern about the life-size silhouettes came Wednesday from Nathan Jerke, spokesman for ITD District 4 in Shoshone.

“It worries ITD,” Jerke said. “The concern is that if people get used to seeing these silhouettes, what happens when it’s a real deer and they think it’s a silhouette. It’s just one more distraction for them when they’re driving down the highway.”

Jerke said placing signs in the highway right-of-way would require that ITD issue a permit and that the school had not applied to the agency for permission. ITD became aware of the idea after being contacted by the Idaho Mountain Express and after seeing a story on the project in the newspaper’s Dec. 14 edition.

“The silhouettes are a good reminder that there are animals out there, but it can be confusing to people if there’s a real animal out there,” Jerke said.

Nonetheless, Jerke said the third-graders deserve credit for trying to address the problem.

“The kids and the teachers have good intentions and they’re thinking out of the box,” he said.

Jerke noted that ITD continues evaluating highway-sensor systems that could flash warnings to motorists if large animals are in the vicinity of the highway.

Vehicle-versus-elk-or-deer collisions have been frequent in the Wood River Valley this year, with accidents occurring as high as three or four per week earlier in the fall. While injuries to people are uncommon, the collisions are almost always fatal to the animal.

“All we intend to do is make people aware of the problem and slow down,” Bailey said. “If you drive down the road and you see a bumper sticker and it reminds you to slow down, that’s good. If the kids can do the awareness and get the bumper stickers out there and raise some awareness, that’s what they wanted to do, and I’m proud of them and their sense of community service.”


Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.