Roadkill Problem on America's Longest Main Street Studied

A lot of large wildlife is killed on U.S. 20 in Island Park, Idaho — a very long, but narrow town-

Island Park, Idaho boasts the longest main street in America. This simply means it is a small population, incorporated community hugging a federal highway for a long way through wildlife rich forest. A lot of folks on this blog are familiar with Island Park.

You don’t really appear to be in town in most of the drive. There’s just scattered sprawl amidst the trees, and few places of more development, e.g., “Last Chance.”  The highway is straight and the speed limit high,  and big animals pop out of the dense  lodgepole pine onto this heavily travelled route.

I drove through just two weeks ago. I see a major pine cutting operation is currently underway to remove the new, thick pine growth back to about 100 yards from the highway.

A detailed study of the road kill is also going on, as this article describes. Roadkill Problem on America’s Longest Main Street Studied. Discovery News.






  1. timz Avatar

    I’ve got pictures and video of three moose, all taken in one stop on the side of that road.

    1. Jay Avatar

      Those were probably wolf-killed moose…and if not killed outright by wolves, the moose were probably chased onto the highway. At least that’s what some folks would believe…

    2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

      I thought that moose collision video was scary. The driver had maybe 1/4 second to react?

      1. timz Avatar

        I had that happen to me in Glacier NP. Fortunately I was driving about 15 MPH and was able to miss it. It jumped out of the trees and right in front of me. On HWY 21 I have had several close calls with deer and elk. I hope that underpass they built this summer helps.

      2. Linda Hunter Avatar

        Down here in Baja that would have been a cow. In the video I am amazed at how little you can see out of the front of the car. . speed is key. If you can’t see don’t drive fast. Here we don’t drive at night at all.

  2. timz Avatar

    Fortunately these were living moose.

    1. Jay Avatar

      Temporarily living…only a matter of time before the wolves get them.

      1. Nancy Avatar

        Where are you coming from with that statement Jay? I didn’t see a smiley face or a LOL at the end of it so are you assuming wolves are chasing moose out into traffic?

        I’ve had a few “close encounters” with moose over the years on roads and highways. Last week I came upon two bulls and a cow moose, on one side of the highway, slowed down and realized she was looking back across the highway (maybe looking for her calf in the willows?) Unfortunately moose calves, as in born this spring, can make it over most fencelines just yet. Unlike many deer, who’ve become conditioned to grazing roadsides, moose and elk bolt across highways. atleast they do where I live.

      2. Save bears Avatar


        I am 100% sure Jay is being sarcastic, he is just not doing it that well…

      3. Jay Avatar

        I thought you would see through the nonsensical statement Nancy, as indicated by the precursor above where I say “at least that’s what some folks would believe”. Sorry it that wasn’t clear enough. To answer your question, where I”m coming from is that there are folks that will blame wolves for everything under the sun, no matter how ridiculous it may seem to folks with a modicum of intelligence.

  3. Nancy Avatar

    Sorry ment to say moose calves can’t make it over most fencelines. And people drive way to fast out here hoping the odds are in their favor when it comes to encountering wildlife.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    Thanks for clarifying that SB. My road was paved a few years ago and for some reason it gave alot of idiots the green light to speed and ignore the fact that wildlife were still crossing the road. The body count, mostly mulies, went way up.

  5. Nancy Avatar

    It did seem out of character considering your past posts Jay. “there are folks that will blame wolves for everything under the sun” I run into alot of people with that mindset around here.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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