The Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers recently approved a $3,000 contribution to the Okanogan Trails Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation supporting the construction of a wildlife undercrossing on Highway 97 in north-central Washington.
Highway 97 wildlife undercrossing site with Carter Mountain Wildlife Area in background. Photo by Chase Gunnell.
The proposed wildlife crossing site is adjacent to the Carter Mountain Wildlife Area and will serve as an important linkage of critical mule deer migration routes. More than 350 deer are hit by vehicles each year in this 12-mile stretch of highway, and there is strong local support for wildlife crossings in this area. Unfortunately, public funding has not yet been allocated by the state to resolve this issue despite requests.
With our support, MDF and other partners will be purchasing the first Highway 97 wildlife undercrossing, which the Washington State Department of Transportation has agreed to implement, and groups including BHA will be advocating for public funding for additional crossings and fencing in this area to keep both wildlife and motorists safe. We will continue to provide updates as funding is secured, more details on the project can be found at safepassage97.org.
Okanogan H97 Wildlife Crossing after mock-up, by Jones and Jones Architects.