2015 Funding Priorities | Amount Needed $10,000
This project would fund a three-year supply (about 300,000 cards for each style, or about 600,000 total) of wildlife safety cards to be handed out at two park entrance stations: Heart o’ the Hills (Hurricane Ridge Road) and the Hoh. The cards are brightly colored and double-sided, with bear- and deer-specific messages for Hurricane Ridge and an elk-specific message for the Hoh. These cards are stapled to each entrance fee receipt so they have a guaranteed audience.
The park faces a consistent challenge of visitors getting too close, feeding and interacting with wildlife. This behavior is potentially dangerous to visitors and animals alike. Deer are often in close proximity to visitors at Hurricane Ridge, and bears are a particular concern at front-country campgrounds and near park roads, where viewers stop and create dangerous “bear jams.” The Roosevelt elk herd has a frequent presence in the Hoh parking lot, visitor center vicinity, and on trails, drawing visitors in very close proximity. These challenges are compounded as the animals become habituated to human presence. The park is emphasizing a wildlife/visitor safety message.
A “close encounter” with an elk or a bear on a park road is an exciting moment. However, visitor education about the potential dangers and impacts of these encounters can provide better understanding. Research by park biologists and natural resource managers has shown the dangers inherent in wildlife habituation. Wildlife safety has a strong link to park stewardship, and education will help create the next generation of those who appreciate wildlife.