Jasper tour guide urges motorists to 'be mindful' as road salt attracts wildlife, creating hazard
EDMONTON -- The owners of a Jasper Park tour company are warning visitors to watch out for wildlife on the highway that may be attracted by road salt put down by Parks Canada.
Joe Urie of Jasper Tour Company says more animals like moose and elk will come up to the road during the colder months to lick up as much salt as they can, creating an extra hazard for motorists.
“It’s as simple as you going up that road and maybe you’re a little excessive speed or whatnot and you come around that corner and the thing is laying right in the middle of the road,” Urie told CTV News from his home in Jasper.
Last week, Urie came across a moose doing that very thing and captured the animal on video.
“It is quite common,” said Urie. “It becomes an addiction… so they get on the road and once they come to discover it, they might be there for the bulk of the winter.”
Urie added that the road salt attraction creates another danger for some animals.
“It’s like setting a trap for them as well where predators are concerned,” he said. “You don’t have to go hunting for them if they’re just hanging out on the road.”
The tour company co-owner said that the ease of finding sodium, which is essential in an animals diet, is what attracts the large wildlife.
“There is salt out there for them to acquire naturally. They don’t need to go to the road, but just like having a shaker on the table it’s that simple.”
While Urie acknowledges the importance of the road salt that rids the highways of dangerous icy conditions, he also urges drivers to be careful.
“Do be mindful that there will be wildlife directly on the road.”