Letter: Reducing animal deaths on I-40

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I have been following for some time the efforts led by the National Parks Conservation Association to provide landscape connectivity — ways for wildlife to cross major highways — in the Interstate 40 gorge of Western North Carolina and other areas. The Pigeon River Gorge Connectivity Project covered in your article [“Bear Right: Collaborative Works to Reduce I-40 Animal Deaths,” May 1, Xpress] represents an exciting beginning in bringing connectivity projects to our area as we experience more and more encounters between human motorists and the animals who live in our national and state parks as well as private lands.

We are privileged to live in an area with one of the largest areas of protected forestland in the Southeast, and it’s important that we start these efforts to both protect animal and human life now. I would encourage NCDOT to start by building in wildlife-friendly features into the upcoming replacement of bridges in the Pigeon River Gorge, and for us as citizens to advocate with our representatives for future measures to provide bears, elk, deer and other creatures safe passage over or under our ever more busy highways.

— Zoë Hoyle
Asheville

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