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Right of Way: Roads Need Overhaul to Decrease Collisions

In this sweeping, visually stunning overview of connectivity along the East Coast, Smokies Life Magazine featured several of our projects and staff members, including Liz Hillard, who is outfitting elk with GPS collars in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to learn where elk are crossing major roadways.

“The frequency of elk–vehicle collisions is likely to increase through time as road networks continue to expand, the elk population continues to grow, and traffic volume increases,” [Liz Hillard] says. “This research will provide information to guide mitigation strategies to increase human safety, reduce elk–vehicle collisions, and increase the connectivity of public lands as elk disperse.”

Christine Laporte, who manages our partnerships with conservationists and landowners along the Eastern Wildway, was quoted next to a feature of our Half-East Map.

“Wildlands recognized nearly 30 years ago that landscapes need to be connected by corridors and today we mesh this concept with an understanding that human society’s footprint is expanding. National parks and other protected areas serve as the ‘cores,’ or build- ing blocks, for networks of wild lands across the continent.”

Susan Holmes, who is spearheading our efforts to support Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) in introducing the Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, was also featured.

“[The Act] will establish a National Wildlife Corridors System on federal public lands and provide funding for states and tribes to protect wildlife corridors on non-federal lands,” says Susan Holmes, policy director, Wildlands Network. “It has support from 150 national and regional groups, scientists like E.O. Wilson and outdoor recreation companies like Patagonia.”

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This story is featured in a print-only quarterly magazine. If you would like to order a copy of this or other issues of Smokies Life Magazine, please visit their website.

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