Teton County is paying $19,500 for six ungulate silhouette statues to be deployed around the valley.
The reflective silhouettes are intended to make drivers more cautious of wildlife crossing the highways. They’ll be purchased through Jackson Hole Public Art and built by artist Bland Hoke for a price tag of $3,520 each.
“Hopefully it reminds you to keep an eye out,” Hoke said.
The concept for the silhouettes was originally developed by students at the Jackson Hole High School Fab Lab. Some reflective elk and moose are already scattered around town, Hoke said.
County staffers will work with wildlife officials, advocates and area landowners to place the silhouettes at strategic roadside locations, informed by the Teton County Wildlife Crossings Master Plan.
The challenge will be locating the signs close enough to the road for drivers to see them but far enough to be outside the Wyoming Department of Transportation’s right of way. Like real ungulates, the signs are designed to “migrate.”
“They aren’t anchored to the ground,” Hoke said, “and they’re meant to be moved. There’s some science behind movable signage, that it generates more impressions or it’s more effective than a normal sign.”
Hoke said his next steps are to design a deer and elk silhouette with steel.
The $19,500 is coming out of $150,000 in Teton County’s budget allocated toward wildlife crossings planning. The silhouettes are listed as a capital improvement in the town of Jackson Public Art Taskforce’s Public Art Plan.
Voters will have a chance to approve $10 million in specific purpose excise tax funding for wildlife crossing structures at the Nov. 5 special election.