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For More Wildlife Fencing, Summit County Council Member Says Look To Local Fundraising

The local group Save People Save Wildlife stills hopes to extend safety fencing along highways in the Snyderville Basin.

Summit County Council Member Roger Armstrong says that to pay for the multi-million-dollar project, activists should look first to private fundraising.   But he leaves the door open to the chance that the county or the state can help with some revenues.

During County Council comments at their Feb 26th meeting, Armstrong noted that he had met with the wildlife group, which wants to extend safety fencing from Jeremy Ranch, eastward on Interstate-80, and then over to the Silver Summit Interchange near Home Depot.

He said the cost would probably be over $2 million.  But Armstrong said fundraising that amount is probably doable, given the number of locals who are devoted to wildlife.     

“There are probably members of this community that excel with capital campaigns, and also who, if they understood the nature of the problem, probably have the ability to move the needle on some of those fundraising efforts.  To the extent that any of us are aware of any of those people and who they might be, I would encourage pointing them in the direction of Save People Save Wildlife.  And let’s see if we can help facilitate that for them.”

During budget time, Save People Save Wildlife asked the County Council for funding.   

On Wednesday, Armstrong said their hearts are in the right place, and they’re raising a health and safety issue.   But the county is limited in what it can give to the fencing.       

“We talked about for this budget not having the financial resources.   And part of that discussion was targeted towards explaining how restrictive funding is to counties generally, and it’s difficult for us to find extra money to do these kinds of things.  But as we move forward, we might be able to help.”

The project might also get some help from the Utah Department of Transportation.      

“They seem to have a pretty good relationship with UDOT.  UDOT is prepared to put in, I think, some resources incrementally.  They’re not inclined to sort of do the completion all at once.  If they’ve got a major project, and they can fold it in, like they did with the climbing lane, they can make that work.  And I think like with other initiatives for UDOT, if you bring money to the table, UDOT can sometimes find other financing.”

Summit County Council Member Roger Armstrong

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.