Project Support

Supporters

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

Central Washington Latino Community Fund (PDF – Letter of support)

City of Omak, Cindy Gagne, Mayor (PDF – Letter of Support)

Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation – (PDF – 2018 Letter of support, PDF – 2013 Letter of support)

Conservation Northwest – (Visit this organization’s webpage dedicated to raising private donations to purchase the first wildlife underpasses for safer passage on Highway 97, and make your donation today!)

Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board (PDF – Letter of support)

Mule Deer Foundation (PDF – Letter of support from Okanogan Trails Chapter of Mule Deer Foundation)

National Wildlife Federation (PDF – Letter of support)

Okanogan County Tourism Council (PDF – Letter of support)

Okanogan Trails Scenic Byway

Okanogan Land Trust (PDF – Letter of support)

Washington Trucking Associations (PDF – Letter of support)

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has provided financial support to our Okanogan Trails Chapter of the Mule Deer Foundation for community outreach including maintenance of this website.

Quotes of Support

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.”

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

Tim & Janet Hulsing, citizen “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”.

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!!!”

Jeremy Moberg, Founder and CEO of Cannasol Farms. “As owner of Cannasol Farms that employs 25 people year round I am happy to hear that Conservation Northwest is taking a lead on funding a pilot wildlife bypass on the high deer kill area between Riverside and Tonasket on Highway 97. I personally have heard many stories of people colliding with deer along that route the 25 years I have lived in Okanogan county and see the signs of these collisions regularly on the highway. Perhaps the greatest impact this route has had is how it imperils people commuting to work from Tonasket to the business hub of Omak and Okanogan where the county seat. The likelihood of these collisions is so great that I consider the commute when hiring people from north of Riverside knowing that it is only a matter of time before they hit a deer on their way to work. I ask applicants if they regularly make the commute and if they have hit deer. The ones that do make the commute all say they have either hit deer or had very close encounters. This has affected my hiring practices and I am very wary of hiring regular labor that make this commute. Your efforts to create wildlife bypass would improve this situation greatly and improve the commute and hiring opportunities for Tonasket residents.”

Linda Pierce, citizen “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.”