NEWS BRIEFS

New Antelope Migration Corridor Overpass Bridge Dedicated

250,000 Spectators Watch This Year's Migrations

Spotted Sage Grouse Nesting Platforms Do Well

Unprecedented Cooperation between Industry, State, and Environmental Groups

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Pinedale OFFline
April 1, 2003
Keeping Wyoming's Best Kept Secret, Secret
Newly dedicated antelope migration overpass
New Antelope Migration Overpass Bridge at Trappers Point. Photo by Pinedale OFFline.

New Antelope Migration Overpass Dedicated
Posted April 1, 2005

In an unprecedented showing of cooperation between members of the oil and gas industry, environmental groups, and the Wyoming Department of Transportation, a new antelope migration overpass bridge has been dedicated at the Trappers Point crossing site on US Hwy. 191 between the towns of Cora Y and Stanley's Junction, Wyoming.

The need for the antelope overpass was first spotlighted in the spring of 2003 during a symposium on wildlife migration held in the town of Pinedale, located 11 miles east of the new bridge. At that time, members of the public and wildlife biologists discussed the significance of the Trappers Point Bottleneck caused by development and the highway at this major crossing point used by pronghorn during the spring and the fall to migrate up and down the Green River Valley.

The new bridge, two years in planning and construction, was dedicated on April 1st of this year in a joyous ceremony attended by hundreds of tireless volunteers who dedicated hours of time and labor into designing the overpass and then lovingly landscaping it to blend seamlessly into the surrounding terrain. The timing was perfect, as just when hundreds of balloons were set free to celebrate the moment, a herd of over 150 antelope used the moment to cross the bridge, avoiding the perilous conditions of highway traffic that used to confront them.

The Mayor of Cora Y gave a brief speech and commented how their town never would have happened if it hadn't been for the new wildlife bridge that has brought thousands of spectators in the spring and fall, during the notoriously slow "shoulder season" dreaded by local businesses, and created a boom tourist economy as visitors flock to viewing platforms to watch the antelope migration in progress. "We are currently in negotiations with Pamplona to make the running of the antelope a partner event with running of the bulls." The Mayor of newly incorporated Stanley's Junction also agreed that this was the best thing that had happened to the county, and local economy, ever. "The economic benefit actually surpassed county revenues from the oil and gas taxes!" commented the Mayor. New businesses selling high tech spotting scopes, cameras, and film processing services have sprouted up all over to support the visitors. "A new business has sprung up in the vending industry" said the Mayor of Cora Y, to service hungry spectators who line the 150-mile long migration corridor that snakes carefully through and around oil and gas facilities in the Mesa.

"We couldn't be more pleased" said one local representative of the environmental coalition. "We've worked for years to get recognition of the importance of this wildlife corridor and reestablish the historic antelope migration route. We monitor the migration each spring and fall and do a count and physical inspection of the herd at the same time.

One unexpected result of the reinstitution of the 150-long antelope migration corridor has been the proliferation of the Spotted Sage Grouse which lives in the area known as "The Mesa", which coincidentally is also the site of one of the largest oil and gas reserves in the continental US. Spotted Sage Grouse, communal nesters, have begun to use many oil and gas drilling towers for their nesting sites. Approximately 1500 nesting towers have been documented by US Fish & Wildlife Service biologists. "It came as quite a surprise that they found the rigs so desireable for nesting sites, but we are delighted that the wildlife and industry have found a balance of nature. The guys are still able to work the rigs, very carefully, and the grouse don't seem to mind. In fact, many have become almost pets of the guys providing much needed companionship out there in the lonely desert. Nesting offspring counts have actually increased due to the loving attention and caring environment the Spotted Sage Grouse now enjoy."


Editor’s Note: We were ahead of our time with the wildlife overpass story. Click here for an update in 2012: New crossings help wildlife

Pinedale OFFLINE (2003)
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