Motorists warned of increased elk on highway

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are warning motorists on Highway 13 south of Meeker to be particularly watchful for large numbers of elk congregating on a five- or six-mile stretch of road around mile marker 26.

The situation is creating a potential traffic hazard for drivers, according to a recent release. The Division of Parks and Wildlife reminds motorists to be aware of their surroundings when traveling, particularly at dawn and dusk.

At this time of the year, many cow elk are traveling with young calves, and cross highways cautiously due to the unfamiliarity of their surroundings.

“I recently witnessed a large semi come to a complete stop on the highway to watch the elk,” Area Wildlife Manager Bill de Vergie said. “If this continues, it is only a matter of time before we have a serious accident. We are taking steps to reduce the danger but we need the public’s help.”

Parks and Wildlife officers are working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to explore a temporary solution such as creating new openings in fencing along the highway to allow for more efficient big-game movement across the roadway. Wildlife officers will ask local landowners for assistance and cooperation, with long-term solutions focusing on improvements that make it easier and safer for wildlife to cross the highway corridor in the future.

“We will make a few initial improvements that should help reduce the immediate risk to motorists and wildlife,” de Vergie said. “But we look forward to working with CDOT to address this serious safety concern on a more permanent basis.”

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