Elk herd returns to SLC’s Foothill Drive; one hit in crash overnight

Feb 3, 2023, 6:14 AM | Updated: Feb 13, 2023, 1:35 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are urging drivers to be on alert as a herd of elk returned to roads near the mouth of Parleys Canyon.

Sgt. Cameron Roden with the Utah Highway Patrol said troopers received several reports of elk near Interstate 80 Thursday night into Friday morning. They investigated one crash overnight where an elk was hit by a vehicle.

So far troopers have not had to completely close the road as they did on Wednesday, when DWR biologists herded the elk across I-80 and into the mountains above Foothill Drive.

Two elk were hit and killed by cars on Wednesday, with another two being euthanized after being injured. DWR spokesperson Faith 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 herd also 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 find food.

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

“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 (Salt Lake Country Club) 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.

(Derek Petersen/KSL TV) (Derek Petersen/KSL TV) (Photo courtesy of Haley Hammond) (Photo courtesy of Haley Hammond)

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Elk herd returns to SLC’s Foothill Drive; one hit in crash overnight