Herd of elk causes delays on roads near Parleys Canyon; 2 hit, killed by vehicles

Feb 1, 2023, 9:22 AM | Updated: 12:49 pm
A herd of elk cross I-80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon on Feb. 1, 2023. (UDOT)...
A herd of elk cross I-80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon on Feb. 1, 2023. (UDOT)

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — The Utah Department of Transportation warned drivers to be on the lookout as dozens of elk crossed roads near the mouth of Parleys Canyon.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesperson Faith Jolley said the group of roughly 20-30 elk broke off from the main herd, which consists of 60-70 elk, and moved toward Interstate 80 and 215 Wednesday morning.

“There is a chance people will encounter elk in areas where there isn’t traffic control currently” while the herd remains in the Salt Lake Valley, UDOT crews said.

Traffic controls were in place until 9:30 a.m. when DWR biologists herded the elk across I-215 and I-80 above Foothill Drive. The animals then continued to the top of the mountains.

“We are unaware if there are stragglers, so continue to be cautious,” UDOT tweeted.

Two of the elk were hit and killed by vehicles. Two others were injured and were euthanized by DWR crews. Jolley said the elk that were euthanized will be donated to Utahns through the Game Meat Donation program, so the meat doesn’t go to waste.

The majority of the elk are on the nearby Salt Lake Country Club golf course, according to Jolley.

The herd caused traffic delays over the weekend as they entered the Salt Lake Valley. Jolley said the elk have come down to lower elevations to escape deep snow and to find food in the valleys.

“It is common for elk, deer and moose to migrate to lower elevations during the winter months when their food sources are covered by snow in the mountains. Due to the significant snowfall this winter, we are seeing an increase in the number of big game animals migrating into cities,” Jolley said.

The elk are “skittish,” and the DWR and other agencies are monitoring the situation. It hasn’t been feasible to herd them all back up into the mountains, Jolley said Wednesday.

“For now, we are trying to keep them on the golf course and away from the roadways. With temperatures increasing in the next week, we are hopeful they will naturally migrate back into the foothills to find natural food sources,” she said.

Over the weekend, DWR biologists posted some tips for residents and commuters in the area:

  • Please use caution and decrease your speed if driving in this area. Elk and other big game animals on roadways present a serious safety hazard for motorists. Wildlife can be especially active during low-light conditions and are difficult to see on the roadway.
  • Drive alert and keep an eye out for elk or other wildlife on or near the roads. Big game animals cross many roadways throughout Utah during migration and in search of less snow and food sources.
  • Do not approach the elk if you see them. It is unsafe and can cause the animals to move into roads and other problematic areas.
  • Don’t feed the elk or other big game animals, due to safety concerns, disease concerns and the potential harm to the animals from introducing foods not in their diets, particularly during winter months. We have implemented emergency feeding for deer in parts of Summit and Rich counties and will continue to monitor the body fat conditions of big game and winter conditions in other parts of the state, as well.

“We ask for tolerance and patience from local residents and drivers in the area while the elk are here,” Jolley said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(KSL TV)...
Shara Park

Wednesday’s Child: Kenzie, 15, loves reading fiction; hopes to find her forever family

Kenzie has lived in foster care since she was 3 years old. At the age of 10, she was adopted, but that didn’t work out and she returned to state custody. Now at 15, she's hoping to find her family.
14 hours ago
(KSL TV)...
Shelby Lofton

Salt Lake City police using flyers to warn drivers about car thefts

Some car owners are waking up to find flyers on their windshields or car doors, warning them their vehicle could have been stolen.
14 hours ago
(Utah Foster Care)...
Karah Brackin

Study: Utah is best at putting foster kids in safe homes

A study published in March 2023 by the American Enterprise Institute looks nationally at foster care and placing children in safe, stable homes, among other factors. Utah is ranked number one on that list. 
14 hours ago
(Derek Petersen/KSL TV)...
Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises drivers with free gas cards

Casey Scott was out and about on a beautiful Wednesday morning, asking drivers which holiday has the best candy and surprising a few of them with free gas cards.
14 hours ago
Police respond to Spanish Fork High School after receiving reports of an active shooter, which were...
Josh Ellis

Police: Hoax targets several Utah schools with fake shooting threats

First responders were sent to multiple Utah high schools Wednesday due to calls reporting an active shooter, but police have confirmed none of the threats were credible and no students were in danger.
14 hours ago
(Salt Lake City Police Department)...
Madison Swenson

Gas leak closes roads in Salt Lake City; authorities investigating

A gas leak has some roads closed in Salt Lake City Wednesday morning.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
Herd of elk causes delays on roads near Parleys Canyon; 2 hit, killed by vehicles