Banff Wildlife Crossing Bridge
December 15, 2009
Photographer: Rebecca Roush
Summary Author: Stu Witmer
The photo above shows a new wildlife overpass being constructed along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park in October of 2009. Banff is probably the most visited national park in Canada. It is also bisected by the country's premier coast-to-coast arterial highway. The park is home to a variety of wildlife large and small. When wildlife and highway meet, trouble often follows. In 1978 plans for "twinning" the two lane highway through the park to four lanes were made. These plans included fencing and wildlife underpasses to improve the safety of tourists and other animals. At the time little was known about reducing collisions between animals and vehicles. Since the project began Banff has become one of the best places in the world to study wildlife roadway crossings. In the last 40 years over 180,000 crossings have been made by animals such as bears, wolves, deer, lynx, elk, cougars and others. There are now over twenty crossings, both over and under the highway, and more are under construction. The project is now part of the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative which seeks to preserve and maintain the Rocky Mountain habitat in both the U.S. and Canada.
Coordinates of a similar finished wildlife crossing of the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff: N51.161175, W115.714514
More about Banff National Park at Earth Observatory