A highway to connectivity - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

A highway to connectivity

At the site for a proposed wildlife underpass and fencing on Alberta's Highway 1 east of Canmore, Alta. Credit: Adam Linnard/Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

We have BIG news! In November, the Alberta government announced that it would commit funding to advance a wildlife overpass east of Canmore, and an underpass in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass in its 2019 Provincial Construction Program.

Albertans have been advocating for an overpass in this section of the Trans-Canada highway for eight years, and Highway 3 is becoming increasingly dangerous for wildlife and people. It’s important that we ensure these commitments remain a priority and come to fruition.

At the site for a proposed wildlife underpass and fencing on southern Alberta’s Highway 3 at Rock Creek. Credit: Adam Linnard/Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

An important way to improve connectivity

The addition of these crossing structures is also an important puzzle piece in connecting mountain ecosystems in Alberta at the heart of the Yellowstone to Yukon region.

When wildlife such as grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines and elk can roam the landscape unimpeded, they stay connected to a bigger population, helping them thrive. Highways make it harder to move, either because animals risk crossing and get hit by vehicles, or because they choose not to risk it at all.

Preventing scenes like this between the east gates of Banff National Park to Highway 40 are a high priority for Y2Y. Photo: Kelly Zenkewich

How many animals must be hit by vehicles, people injured, and money spent on the costly effects of a collision before enough is enough? When wild animals are killed on highways, especially large carnivores, it affects the broader ecosystem. As well, hitting an animal with your vehicle not only injures or kills the animal, it can have severe financial, mental and physical impacts on you and your passengers.

The risks for people and animals alike highlight the continued need to speak up about the incredible difference these new crossing structures in Alberta will make, and the positive ripple effect they will have on connectivity through the Bow Valley.

Your impact

Your donations and actions are helping ensure that the government keeps these wildlife crossing structures a priority. When funding was announced for the crossing structures, Alberta decision-makers acknowledged the influence of the hundreds of letters they had received from people.

Now is the time to thank the Alberta government for its commitments, and to show your support for a long-term plan for highway-wildlife mitigation in the Bow Valley east of Banff National Park’s gates.