Environment, Letter to the Editor, Opinion

Letter to the Editor: In response to Oregon Hunters Association migratory habitat letter

Don Backman is a resident of Bay City.

I read with interest the article which you published (Letter to the Editor: Oregon Hunters Association, Nov. 11″) from Jim Akenson, Senior Conservation Director, Oregon Hunters Association, and Lori McKinnon, President, Coastal Farm & Ranch.

They raise a very important point. While most people would readily acknowledge that wildlife require adequate habitat, they often don’t think about the fact that wildlife aren’t static. They need to move around, and they require safe corridors and habitat in order to do so. Vehicle and wildlife conflicts are all too common. We are familiar with deer and elk being struck along the highways that run alongside and across the coast range.

Highway 97 between Bend and Klamath Falls is a classic example of how bad this can get with a history of countless accidents as deer are struck by vehicles as they migrate to and from summer and winter range. That problem is starting to be addressed there with an innovative solution: wildlife underpasses that are proving very effective in reducing conflicts.

There are many other types of conflict between humans and animals as well. Expansion of residential and business areas in Northwest Oregon has altered the entire landscape.

As a kid, I helped load hay trucks from fields between Beaverton and Hillsboro. All of those areas are now developed. While some areas have been provided for wildlife, too little thought has been made for animals that need to move around, especially larger animals such as black-tailed deer. As a result, these animals are being pushed into developed areas with increased conflicts with humans. Animals always lose these conflicts.

As the article from the Oregon Hunters Association points out, safe corridors and habitat are critically important. We need to keep this in mind as we further develop Oregon, and we need to take steps to help our wildlife.

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