Project Support

Supporters

The following organizations have committed their support to our work towards a safer Highway 97:

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation – (click here to download a PDF of their letter of support)

Mule Deer Foundation

Okanogan Trails Scenic Byway

Okanogan Land Trust

 

Quotes of Support

” The Okanogan Land Trust supports the construction of wildlife crossing underpass(s) on US Highway 97, south of Janis Bridge.  The current situation in this very high deer kill area is a danger to the public safety and a disaster for our valuable mule deer population.”

” Thank-you for having invited me to the meeting held in Tonasket some time ago now.  I was clearly in the minority of people lucky enough not to have been in a collision with wildlife.  The mitigated trauma, loss of life and property damage is clearly a strong motivator for this wonderful coordination of efforts between DOT, landowners, community leaders and concerned citizens in the safe passages project.  This really does seem to be a worthwhile and responsible venture!  Respectfully, Cindy Gagne, Mayor of Omak

Ron Bruno, past president of Wenatchee Sportsmen’s Association had this to say about their recently completed fencing project along 97A and a potential underpass project near Tonasket on HWY 97, ” It’s not just the safety of the wildlife but more the safety of our family’s.  We will all be winners.”

Nancy  & Jim Soriano, Tunk Valley Ranchers, ” The section of HWY 97 between Riverside and the Janis Bridge has been known, for decades, as “Deer Alley”.  It bears this nickname because of the frequency of collisions between vehicles and deer, the carcasses along the road, and because “Death Valley” was taken.  The radiator of my car was punctured late one night when we crashed into a deer that came out of nowhere.  My small children were in the car with me.  It was late at night and we were stranded.  Our insurance did not cover the damage.  As traffic continues to increase on this stretch of HWY 97, so does the risk of injury or worse.  We are in favor of improvements to this section of HWY 97 for the safety of people and wildlife.”

Local business owner, Dina Lund, ” I would rather see venison on my table than dead deer on the Highway”.

Tim & Janet Hulsing, ” As a frequent traveler on HWY 97, we are disturbed by the amount of dead deer lying on the side of the road especially near the Crumbaker area.  It is very sad to see deer dead or worse yet, maimed and left to suffer an awful slow death.  Of course the other concern is the hazards to motorists and especially to motorcyclists.  I think as humans we are obligated to help the safety of both the animals and people in any way we can.  Putting safe crossings for the animals would help immensely with both, thanks”.

Linda Pierce, ” I am sending a request that consideration be given to providing a wildlife corridor along WA 97.  I routinely travel this highway and have had MANY close calls with deer, usually in groups of two or more, trying to cross the roadway.  Fortunately, I have not been involved in a collision with a deer, however, may have as there are often dead deer either in the road or along side the road which also presents danger for travelers who may not see the obstruction.  I strongly support an option for providing a safe corridor for wildlife which will lower the risk of a high speed collision on a highly traveled roadway.”

Michelle Engebretson, Hwy 97 adjacent landowner, “I very much support building underpasses for wildlife to safely cross HWY 97 in our area.  We see daily blood spots or carcasses on the hwy-evidence another deer has been slaughtered by a vehicle while trying to cross the road.  I feel badly for the driver who has to go through the expense and trauma of hitting an animal which results in painful injury and or death for the animal.  Because the deer like the quiet area of our property which borders the hwy, we hear horns honking frequently at deer trying to make their way across the road in their daily lives.  I have actually heard an animal hit just at the end of our driveway and on another occasion we heard the bleating calls of an injured deer being eaten by coyotes on our property early one morning.  Sadly, when a deer is hit but not killed outright, it staggers up on our place to die-evidenced by their remains.  We have watched moose trying to cross the hwy with no luck due to the traffic and thankfully turned and left the way they came.  Just as surprisingly, Elk come through although I didn’t know this until I found a large Elk spike antler in the mule coral the other morning.  Wouldn’t it be great for the animals to have a safe and quiet way to cross from one side to the undeveloped lands on the other without running the gauntlet of high speed vehicles?  Let’s build the animal underpasses-please!!!”

Omak Chronicle Article, December 5th 2012,  An Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office vehicle was damaged Dec 2 when the deputy driving it hit a deer on U.S. Highway 97 two miles north of town.  Deputy Josh Brown was not injured.  The SUV received an estimated $3,000-$4,000 damage, Sheriff Frank Rogers said.  The front passenger side quarter panel, pushbar, grill and lights were damaged.  Deputies have hit approximately 10 deer so far this year, and average six or seven a year, he said.  “I think we all have  hit one at some point,” he said.  The county is self-insured for vehicle damage, so the repair bill will come out of the sheriff’s budget.