News & Media

National Parks Group Honors Governor Gregoire at Annual Western Governors Meeting: Award Honors Governor’s Dedication to Enhancing Wildlife Corridors

June 11, 2012

Seattle, WA — The National Parks Conservation Association today honored Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire’s leadership in addressing the issue of wildlife-vehicle collisions on Washington State’s roads and her broader leadership on wildlife corridors, with the National Parks Achievement Award. The Governor received the award at the Western Governors Association’s (WGA) annual meeting, aptly themed “Get Out West”.

“An enormous amount of credit goes to staff at the Washington Department of Transportation, and Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as numerous private partners. Their partnership has made the I-90 corridor safer for both humans and wildlife to move around the state,” said Governor Chris Gregoire.

“Wildlife such as elk and black bears that travel to and from Washington’s national parks do not follow vehicle-minded rules of the road. Through Governor Gregoire’s leadership, the Washington State Department of Transportation is implementing new solutions that will protect visitors and the wildlife they seek,” said Sean Smith, Northwest Policy Director with the National Parks Conservation Association.

In recent years, Washington State has formalized policy that requires analysis of habitat and wildlife movement needs in all transportation activities with an eye towards human safety; built or passageways for wildlife along freeways such as Interstate 90; and identified areas needed to protect wildlife movements, while enhancing safety issues related to wildlife-vehicle collisions.

“Economic progress across the West depends on the completion of transportation and other land use projects that must incorporate potential wildlife impacts into their planning. Our Western Governors’ Wildlife Council is developing information about wildlife habitats and corridors that will help balance human development needs with wildlife protection,” said WGA’s incoming Chairman Governor Gary Herbert. Beyond Washington State, the Western Governors Association’s Wildlife Corridors and Crucial Habitat Imitative is working with elected officials and state agencies to implement similar projects.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has also been actively involved in this effort, and will receive a National Parks Achievement Award later this summer, for his progress Department of Transportation’s work to reduce human-wildlife collisions on major roads.

About the Western Governors Association
Established in 1984, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) is an independent, non-partisan organization of governors from 19 Western states, two Pacific-flag territories and one commonwealth. Through WGA, member Governors identify and address key policy and governance issues in natural resources, the environment, human services, economic development, international relations, transportation and public management.