Washington Is Beautiful - I-90 to Ellensburg

You get so much variety and that new wildlife overpass is complete!

June 19, 2019

Asked to present a panel on working in radio, we hopped in the car and shot over the pass to Ellensburg. The first time I do that every year, I'm in awe the whole way of the insane variety of ecosystems and stunning natural beauty. Gloomy foggy/cloud cover mountains with dark green trees seeming to touch the heavens give way to flat beautiful lakes, and eventually the grassy hot plains on the far side of the Cascades.

You might not have even noticed, but when cruising through Snoqualmie Pass on I-90, there's an overpass that doesn't look a whole lot different than many others. This overpass is wildly different - it's a wilderness bridge to encourage animals to get across I-90 without the dangers of becoming buzzard food. 

When humans put in huge roads across animal migration tracks it makes things difficult in obvious, splat inducing ways. Over time, the animals learn to stay on one side of the road or the other. This segregation can lead to some significant limitations in the biological gene pool and over time make for some breeding issues. Additionally, lots of species roamed these gorgeous lands long before we got here and cut their habitat down for our trucks and snowboard trips.

WSDOT teamed up with groups like Conservation Northwest to transform a long ol' piece of I-90 into a place great for commerce trucking and wildlife at the same time. Included in the plan are a bunch of underpasses for animals to utilize and at least one (hopefully more soon) wildlife overpass. 

Here are a few car photos from our trip over the pass and down into Eastern Washington for a quick afternoon hang in Ellensburg:

And remember, whenever you head to the east side of the Cascades, be wary of Sand People... they travel single file to mask their numbers...