Banff National Park: Pedestrian bridges for bears?

If you live in a sizeable city then you’ve probably used a pedestrian overpass (or underpass) to walk to a bus stop, or simply traverse a highway by foot. These passage ways are built for the citizens to safely get from one place to another, as well as provide a more direct route to their destination. Well, this sort of thing exists all over the world for wildlife, too. Bears and deer might not be rushing to catch the city bus, but they do indeed travel by foot, and they also cross over major highways, dangerously taking on the oncoming traffic.

One of the most impressive series of structures built to help wild animals safely cross a highway is found in Banff National Park in Alberta. They’re just like our pedestrian bridges, except they’re masked with greenery to mimic the animal’s natural habitat (which is meant to encourage its use). Below is a photo shot overhead, as you can see, the bridge looks like an extension of the forest. This overpass traverses the Trans-Canada Highway, which not only provides a safe passage for the animals, but also serves as a connection between habitats (from one side of the forest to the other). It is reported by Parks Canada that by 2014, a total of 38 wildlife underpasses and 6 overpasses will be completed from Banff National Park’s east entrance to the border of Yoho National Park. All kinds of wildlife use these overpasses and underpasses, among the most notable are grizzly bears, black bears, elk, coyotes, moose, deer, and wolves.