The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) are pleased to announce that the recently completed wildlife crossing structures on U.S. Highway 191 west of Pinedale are working as planned and are successfully being used by wildlife. It is estimated that approximately 2,000-3,000 pronghorn and 2,000-2,500 mule deer pass through the well-known Trapper's Point migration corridor each spring and fall. Some of the pronghorn come from as far as Grand Teton National Park north of Jackson.
The project consists of six underpasses and two overpasses to help wildlife safely negotiate the highway traffic. The overpasses are the first of its kind in Wyoming and the first ever built specifically for pronghorn anywhere. The project also includes an eight-foot-tall wildlife fence on both sides of the highway for the entire 12-mile-long corridor to funnel animals through the crossings.
“We’re elated to see the animals using the crossings just as we’d hoped, especially the pronghorn using the overpasses,” said Scott Smith, Pinedale Wildlife Management Coordinator for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. “We’re not aware of any overpasses ever being built for pronghorn, so we weren’t exactly sure how they would react to them, but they seem to be passing over them just fine.” Underpasses also have been installed near Kemmerer and Baggs, with mule deer, elk, and even moose using them, but pronghorn have proven very reluctant to pass through them.
The overpasses are 150-foot wide with earthen berms along both sides to block the view of the highway below. There is also eight-foot-tall wildlife fencing along the top of the berms to prevent animals from accidently jumping off the overpass. The entire dirt surface has been planted to native grasses and shrubs to match the surroundings.