A group of Jeremy Ranch and Pinebrook residents are tired of seeing moose and elk try and cross I-80 and are even more tired of the aftermath. Sally Carpenter, the Facebook group’s founder, said “You have these huge animals attempting to cross the highway and then bad things happen. What we are demanding is a wildlife fence to prevent these animals from crossing the highway.” Carpenter said they have approached Summit County about building the fence but were told it was really the jurisdiction of the Utah Department of Transportation. So the group has been working channels within UDOT to find someone sympathetic to their cause.
Rick Smith, co-founder of the Facebook group, explained the group’s position in more detail. “You have these huge animals like moose and elk that move across the highway. Unfortunately, most of the animals are able to cross the highway. Once they get across I-80, they enter our yards and destroy our trees and injure our pets. They are a nuisance that must be eliminated for everyone’s safety.”
The group’s director of tactical operations, Sergeant Dick Rhodes, outlined their plan. “What we hope to do is build wildlife fences on both sides of Interstate 80. Once an animal enters through a door in the fence, they will become disoriented by the high speed traffic and noise. Our hope is that they become trapped in the fencing and can’t find their way out. Eventually they will either die of exhaustion or be eliminated by a semi-tractor trailer.”
However, the group doesn’t see safety as the only goal of the project. “Once these moose are eliminated, we want Summit County to quickly pick up these animals and deliver them to affordable housing projects across the county,” said Carpenter. She continued, “Those people can hardly afford to live here. We hope we can help feed them by providing them fresh meat. You know, the whole give a person a fish and they eat for a day thing. It’s what Jesus would do.” Carpenter says she is also working with the school district on offering classes on how to skin and dry meat, so that families will have food throughout the winter.
Not everyone in the group is thinking past the fence, though. Group member Kylie Thompson said that while feeding people is nice, “what we have to concentrate on is saving our kids and dogs from being hurt by these wild animals. I don’t want to worry about my kids being ambushed by some moose when they are walking home from the bus stop. I think this is the best way to ensure that.”
Sally Carpenter said the group is still in the initial stages of working toward their goal. “Well, we have decided that our Facebook group should be called Save People not Wildlife. We’ve made a lot of calls and had lots of coffee with leaders both here and in Salt Lake. We’ve come a long way but we have even farther to go.” Carpenter concluded, “We have to do something. We can’t stand idly by and watch these animals kill our children. I’m just not OK with that.”
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