Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stretch of road might be designated in honor of Florida black bears

Many people aren't aware that bears live in Florida. Florida black bears live mainly in and around Florida's three national forests -- Apalachicola in the panhandle, Osceola in the north just south of Georgia and Ocala north of Orlando -- and also a few scattered around other smaller forested areas. Unfortunately, busy State Road 40 cuts right through a portion of Ocala Nationl Forest, and roadkill is a huge problem for bears who live there and is a leading cause of death for our bruins.

Now this DeLand-Deltona Beacon article says SR 40 might be designated as a black bear corridor this fall (called "Florida Black Bear Scenic Highway"), if the Florida Department of Transportation agrees. Although the article says naming the 60-mile stretch of road "would involve special efforts to protect the corridor, the beauty, and wildlife along the road," nothing specific is mentioned about preventing roadkill.

However, maybe if people driving through the forest -- say, on their way to Daytona Beach -- notice they are driving on the Florida Black Bear Scenic Highway, that will make them slow down and pay more attention to the wildlife and not just speed through to get from Point A to Point B. What do you think?

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