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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow Letters and comments for August 12, 2011

Letters and comments for August 12, 2011

Letters and comments for August 12, 2011

Warn drivers about elk

To the Editor:

Elk have been coming off the hills surrounding the Grande Ronde Valley for eons. In winter they come to escape the deep snow. In late summer, they come for the greener forage on the valley after mountain grasses dry.

For the last several years, elk have been pouring off the mountain, near Hot Lake, moving through the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Management Area and crossing Highway 203. They come to seek succulent alfalfa on private lands north of the highway. Alfalfa is like a drug to elk. They start this movement in early fall and cross mostly at night.

Unfortunately, the animals are being hit by vehicles along this stretch of road. Last year, like the few preceding years, several vehicle/elk collisions have occurred at this site. The resulting loss of many animals and the associated vehicle damage is terrible. I actually know folks who’ve totaled their vehicles on this stretch. Hitting something as large as an elk at 55 mph is horrendous. It’s truly amazing no human lives have been lost.

It escapes me why no warning signs have been put up along this stretch of road during the elk movements. Sure, many travelers ignore signs, but if some slow down it might warrant this simple task. How hard would it be to set up a flashing, solar-powered sign? There’s likely some collecting dust in a local, highway supply yard. To short stop the hungry animals, would it slow this elk movement if a little alfalfa was planted on the management area near this site? Call me a busy body, but if my concerns are addressed and a life is saved, so be it.

Jim Ward

La Grande

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