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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: June 22, 2020

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails launches WildLives campaign

WildLives-Logos-_bear2

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and Colorado Parks and Wildlife announce an educational messaging campaign, WildLives, listen to your better nature. The campaign’s purpose is to educate the public about respectfully interacting with local wildlife, encouraging locals and visitors to join this mission. The WildLives website is live at wildlivescolorado.org and serves as the information hub (housing the what, why, and how to live alongside our wild animal neighbors). The campaign will continue throughout 2020 with outreach activities and engagement opportunities.

The WildLives campaign goals are to instill the personal ethics needed to protect wildlife and resources and curb noncompliance by educating the public about established rules for interactions with wildlife. Further, we hope to develop an awareness of the risks to humans and wildlife when rules and closures are ignored. WildLives focuses on public safety, resource protection, and wildlife management. We are entering an unprecedented spring and summer season. The outdoors will become even more of a focus of locals and visitors, and now, more than ever, it is essential that we illustrate and encourage responsible trail use.

“Education on how to behave around wildlife is a major focus for both Colorado Parks and Wildlife and us. Human/bear and human/moose interactions are priorities because of visibility and high occurrences. Compliance with seasonal closures, particularly with such an active trail community, is also very important,” said Lindsey Utter, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Planning and Outreach Manager.

Through a suite of digital and partnership efforts, campaign messaging aims to target audiences before wildlife interactions take place. One cornerstone of this education is the “rule of thumb,” a very simple technique of what do you do when you encounter wildlife: 1. Stop 2. Hold up your thumb toward the animal. 3. If it is larger than your thumb, you are too close, back up. The education campaign showcases how to safely enjoy the beauty of our region’s wild animals. This information aligns with the values that bring people to Pitkin County to enjoy the great outdoors by:

  • Motivating visitors and residents to be good stewards of the environment and animal habitats
  • Nurturing a deep appreciation of the natural environments of our region
  • Developing a clear understanding of the mutual benefits of human and wildlife co-existence

“Learning how to coexist with wildlife is a significant part of living in and visiting Colorado. A crucial element is for us to provide the education of how to do so safely for both the animals and humans,” states Taylor Elm, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Northwest Region Energy Liaison.

This initiative directs the community to the WildLives website and sharing messaging through individual digital platforms. Rangers from both agencies will work to spread the WildLives messaging through in-person interactions in the field. Throughout the year, “WildLives, Listen to your better nature” messaging will be found in public spaces and will direct interaction with the wildlivescolorado.org website.

Contact:

Lindsey Utter, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, Planning and Outreach Manager

lindsey.utter@pitkincounty.com | 970-920-5224

Taylor Elm, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Northwest Region Energy Liaison

taylor.elm@state.co.us | 970.255.6180

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