Mountains yes, Ellis Island no: Some US parks open, some not

Elk graze at sunrise Tuesday, July 15, 2003 along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. (The Gazette file photo)

The Colorado Department of Transportation will receive $2 million from the U.S. Department of the Interior and other sources as part of a habitat conservation grant to reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions in northwest Colorado.

“Elk, mule deer and pronghorn face increasing obstacles from highway traffic, development, and habitat degradation as they navigate migration corridors that connect vast stretches of our western landscapes,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Grant funding from the department and the foundation totaled $20.3 million for 11 western states. CDOT will use the money to install fencing to direct wildlife to an underpass along State Highway 13 near Craig in Moffat County. The Interior Department identified the area as a priority migratory corridor for mule deer and elk.

The department will provide $480,400 and matching sources will contribute nearly $1.6 million more. The first round of grants in 2019 totaled $10.7 million. In that phase, the projects collectively conserved 46,000 acres of private land, improved management on over 524,000 acres of public and private land, and improved or removed 201 miles of fencing for the protection of wildlife. Colorado at the time received money to add fencing along U.S. Highway 160 between Durango and Pagosa Springs.

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