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Ptarmigan Peak Wildlife Land Bridge

Ptarmigan Peak Wildlife Land Bridge
380 acres (0.6 square miles)


Setting
Human encroachment on intact ecosystems leads to habitat fragmentation, recognized as a primary cause of the decline of species worldwide. Roads and highways, in particular, are a principal cause of habitat fragmentation, creating barriers to wildlife movement and resulting in animal-vehicle collisions. For federally threatened species like the Canada lynx, and for wildlife in general, highways and other development
present serious barriers to movement throughout region. Global climate change will alter ecosystems
and force wildlife to shift their range, underscoring the need for wildlife to move across the landscape.
Travel demand is increasing on the I-70 mountain corridor between Glenwood Springs and Denver. Creating and, where possible, retaining a wildlife bridge or bridges in this corridor is of national significance,
as they would reconnect critical wildlife habitat that the interstate bisects.

What’s special about it
Wildlife migration: This wildlife linkage serves as one of the last remaining forested connections for wildlife moving north-south through the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Heavily developed resort areas,
high levels of recreational use, and streams of passenger and freight traffic severely constrict wildlife movement.
Vulnerable species that benefit from this crossing include: elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, moose, black bear, lynx, coyote, American marten, marmot, and snowshoe hare.

Potential threats
Motor and mechanized recreation: The corridor needs to be left unfettered in order to function effectively.
Structures and barriers: New structures, and potential human activity associated with them, would disrupt
wildlife security and movement.

Other info
Proposed legislative language for this special management area will ensure continuing, secure, and successful
wildlife crossing, with allowances for maintenance, repair, and security operations associated with the Eisenhower/Johnson Tunnels, operated by Colorado Department of Transportation on Interstate 70. Indeed, CDOT’s need to keep the area clear of human intrusions helps enhance the wildlife crossing success.

How to get there
Direct access to the Wildlife Land Bridge is difficult as it lies directly above the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70.  The best way to get to the Ptarmigan Peak Wildlife Landbridge is by following the direction to the Porcupine Gulch Proposal Area and walk north up Porcupine Gulch to the high country above the tunnel.