Cutting down trees to cut down on moose related collisions, that's the idea behind this tree and brush trimming project. On Saturday, the Alaska Moose Federation (AMF), along with volunteers, removed vegatation along the westbound direction of the New Seward Highway before O'Malley. The hope is that by taking away their food source the moose will stay away.
"Basically what we're doing is taking the food away. We cut 10 feet away from the bike trail," said AMF Operations Coordinator Mike Nieman, "That actually detours the moose. He see's no more food and he'll actually back away."
Keeping both moose and humans safe is the goal. AMF Executive Director, Gary Olson, said they chose this particular stretch of roadway because of a fatal moose collision in 2007. Spc. Stephen 'Max' Cavanaugh Jr. was killed in a moose collision just 60 days after returning home from active duty in Iraq.
With chainsaws and a wood chipper, the trees along the highway were removed with the help of volunteers. Harry Debruhl and his wife volunteered Saturday because they said they're tired of seeing moose killed for no reason.
"It's just really sad for both the drivers and the moose. The mother moose is left behind or the calf is left behind," said Melinda DeBruhl.
The AMF said last winter there was an average of 770 moose collisions statewide. While they attribute the high number to the record snowfall, they say every winter the danger of moose collision rises as the animals search for food.
Organizers hope to make this an annual event. AMF and volunteers will also be clearing vegetation on Sunday in the same area.
Contact Mallory Peebles