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Sunday, October 8, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Rural road a deathtrap for deer

The Associated Press

WENATCHEE - The stretch of Highway 97A through Chelan County is Ground Zero for deer-automobile collisions, and residents hope new road signs and fences will reduce the carnage.

More than 400 deer were killed on the 37-mile stretch from 1991 to 1998, according to the state Department of Transportation.

No people were killed in those deer-auto collisions on the highway, which follows the Columbia River's western shore from Wenatchee to Chelan.

"I know some locals refer to the area as blood alley because there are so many (deer) kills there," state Trooper Kevin Overbay said.

Volunteers plan to post eye-catching signs to warn drivers about the deer that cross the highway.

In addition, the Wenatchee Sportsmen's Association and the Mule Deer Foundation's local chapter plan by Dec. 1 to install signs with flashing lights at two spots on the highway where deer-auto collisions are especially frequent.

The groups hope to eventually install fences along those two sections of highway to keep deer away from the road. The groups are working with the State Patrol and state Department of Fish and Wildlife to find the estimated $130,000 needed for the two fences.

"We're all out here for the same thing, and that's conservation of wildlife and safety for drivers," said Tracey Manning, chairman of the local Mule Deer Foundation chapter.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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