January 14, 2020

Ski to Save Wildlife

How You Can Hit the Slopes and Support the Safe Passages Project on February 28 


On Friday, February 28 you can support an important Denver Zoo initiative all the way from the ski slopes as part of Copper Mountain’s Play Forever FridayCopper Mountain will donate $5.00 from every $99.00 online lift ticket sold before February 28 to the Summit County Safe Passages project 

Denver Zoo is a main partner involved in the Summit County Safe Passages initiative, alongside the Forest Service, Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Together, we are collectively taking the lead in planning and building the support for three mitigation structures, including a wildlife overpass along a busy stretch of I-70 near Copper Mountain. As part of this group, Denver Zoo is working with several ski areas, including Copper Mountain, to find ways to raise awareness and build support for this effort.  

In addition, Denver Zoo and our partner organization, Rocky Mountain Wild, are working to monitor wildlife through a series of camera traps along I-70 at Vail Pass. Knowing more about which species are present and their relative abundance on either side of this major transportation artery can tell us more about how the interstate is impacting wildlife and their movements. We’re using that information to help advocate for, and inform the development of, crossing structure. 

Based on recent studies, this busy stretch of I-70 has a constant traffic flow of more than 22,000 vehicles a day, which severs wildlife movements north and south of the interstate. Traffic of this volume presents a significant barrier to wildlife and many animals no longer attempt to cross. This includes the reintroduced Canadian lynx, whose movement is believed to be especially impacted by I-70 traffic. Wildlife that do attempt to cross are often unsuccessful and pose a safety issue for drivers. 

Given that a lot of the traffic moving through this area is attributed to the adventure community, ski resorts and other outdoor adventure companies in Summit County are doing their part to raise awareness about this important initiative led by the Summit County Safe Passages committee. Like Denver Zoo, they too believe we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to ensure that these important placesand the animals we co-exist with, are conserved for future generations to enjoy.  

By taking a long weekend and heading out west, you are helping support Denver Zoo and a team of collaborative partners in building mitigation structures across I-70 on East Vail Pass needed to reconnect movement corridors and habitat for a diversity of Colorado’s wildlife. 

We hope to see you out on the slopes! 



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