Highway Safety… Wildlife Crossing

by | May 21, 2007 | God's Plans, Purpose, Will of God

An underground ecopassage

How will the black bear get to the other side of the road? Will he use a parachute?

Nah! Bears don’t have parachutes!

Will he run as fast as he can?

Nah! He would be hit by a truck!

So how WILL the black bear get to the other side of a four-lane highway between Banff and Lake Louise?

The hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting these places each year make a 4-lane highway very necessary, but before this road could be built, there were some tough challenges to meet. With the area being so abundant in wildlife, a highway could end up costing the lives of numerous animals, to say nothing about the cost in human life. Instead of attracting tourists, such a highway might deter them from coming.

The highway could be fenced in, of course, “animal-proofed”, so to speak, but that would permanently disrupt the migratory patterns of the animals, isolating individual creatures or small groups from main herds. Many of these animals are already facing extinction as it is, and splitting up herds would only hinder repopulation. What could be done?

This was the dilemma faced by the officials of Banff National Park. A highway needed to be built, but at what cost in animal and human life? There seemed to be no viable solutions.

Then someone stepped out of his comfort zone to make a radical suggestion: “Why don’t we build wildlife crossings?”

As anticipated, he was met with opposition:

“That’s ridiculous! How would animals find these crossings? They can’t even read!”

“Unheard of! A total waste of money! It would never work!”

No one could come up with a better plan however, and eventually this proposal was tentatively accepted as an experiment. Fences built along the highway hinder the animals from crossing anywhere except by way of these “ecopassages”, which in some cases are bridges over the road, and in some cases are tunnels under the road. The ecopassages are as natural-looking as possible, and to the amazement of many, they actually work. More than 50,000 wild animals safely cross the highway between Banff and Lake Louise each year, with no loss of life, either human or animal. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s a grizzly bear, a bobcat or a moose. They all find their way to the other side of the road without endangering themselves or the automobilists. It seems the animals welcome the ecopassages with open arms! Oh, okay. They welcome them with open hooves and paws!

A radical idea becomes reality to the benefit of millions!

It isn’t easy to step out of one’s comfort zone. We have become used to our often self-imposed restraints, and it is unthinkable to make ourselves think “outside the box”; but outside of our comfort zone is exactly where God wants us to be! He has a great task destined for each one of us, and you can be sure it isn’t something that we can easily do. If only He would let us size the task down to something that fits within our comfort zone, we would have no problems working to fulfill our eternal destiny. But that’s not the way it is. God-tasks are always God-sized. They are always impossible to accomplish if we try to handle them on our own. God-tasks ALWAYS push us out of our comfort zone.

Moses was faced with such a task: “So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (Ex 3:10 NIV)

Just as any of us, Moses felt quite uncomfortable with such a proposal. He tried to push the task off on someone else. He really didn’t see himself equipped to succeed on such a mission. I mean, come on! Moses was a simple shepherd, skilled in the care of nonviolent herd animals. Facing Pharaoh was WAY outside of his league, and you and I would definitely have felt the same!

But God knew Moses would be successful. In fact, God provided the “key” to success: “I will be with you.” (Ex 3:12 NIV)

God guaranteed His constant presence in this task. He would supply all the necessary skills, the necessary words, the necessary miracles. But only if Moses depended solely upon Him.

Moses eventually did go before Pharaoh, and the rest is history. A nation destined to slavery was miraculously freed. What had been impossible to men was made possible with God. Moses would never have been able to pull it off. Only by relying solely on the One who had called him did he make this impossible task a reality.

Don’t imagine that Moses had no opposition. The list of those who opposed him included his wife, his father-in-law, the Pharaoh, all of the Egyptians, and even the Israelites themselves. The pressure was intense, but once Moses caught God’s vision for his life, he was undeterred. The impossible was made possible.

God may not have in mind for you to free Israel from Egypt, but the task He has for you is equally as important: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;.” (Jer 1:5 NIV) And you can be assured that God never calls people to human-sized tasks. They are all God-sized. They all force us to step outside of our comfort zones, and even more importantly, they all force us to depend solely upon the One who can make these impossible tasks a reality.

God will never force us to fulfill our destiny, however. He will encourage us for what lies ahead, and He won’t strike us dead if we turn our back on His vision for our life; but if we choose to do so, we will miss out on the opportunity of really experiencing Him.

Remember: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:9 NIV). Step out of your comfort zone. Discover God’s plan for your life. You will be utterly amazed, for He does have great plans for you, great God-sized plans, and they will only become a reality when you step out in faith and rely on Him for direction.

“I have a dream…”

Will you fulfill it? Or will someone else need to complete it in your place?

Rob Chaffart


Highway Safety… Wildlife Crossing