OUTDOORS: Walking through Chewelah, the nation

(BRANDON HANSEN/Chewelah Independent)

Scott Poindexter is walking across the country to raise awareness of wildlife crossings and how they could help. (Brandon Hansen photo)

WALKING FOR WILDLIFE: Scott Pointdexter bringing awareness to wildlife crossings with long walk…

Scott Poindexter has been to 35 countries and counting, while continuing to find new places on the planet to explore.

He can now cross Chewelah off his list after traveling through the small NE Washington town in his effort to raise awareness for wildlife corridors and crossings.

Poindexter’s Walk For Wildlife Crossings will take him across the continental United States and will take months to accomplish. He started in Neah Bay and in August he took a pit stop in Chewelah connecting with the owners of Quartzite Brewing Company for a night of rest and just enough time to talk with the Chewelah Independent.

“I rode my bike from San Francisco to Virginia in 2010 but this walking is five to ten times tougher,” Poindexter said. “It takes longer and requires more from you physically.”

Poindexter is camping his way through this trek while seeing some roadways that remind him just how important wildlife crossings are.

“One million animals die a day because of accidents on roads,” he said. “Over 300 million animals die a year on U.S. roadways. Hundreds of people die, and thousands are injured, from these collisions. It causes eight billion dollars in property damage as well.”

A tour guide in Colorado, Poindexter has seen first-hand how animal crossings work, providing a natural bridge over a major freeway or highway so animals can cross an area unimpeded.

“We’ve seen it have a big effect on Highway 9 out off of I-70 heading towards Silverthorne, 40,000 crossings of wildlife” Poindexter said. “Sometimes you just end up cutting off these populations of animals with roads. And it’s not just the large ones, but the small ones as well.”

Poindexter said in Colorado there is also a need for crossing in Rocky Mountain National Park for bighorn sheep.

While walking across Washington from Neah Bay, Poindexter saw a big need in roadways across the state. Even Stevens County’s Highway 395 can present a challenge for wildlife. Any driver up and down our county can attest to an accident with wildlife that can seriously damage a car.

Poindexter has been carrying his own water and food and restocking supplies when he stops in towns. Once he got to Chewelah, he then took Flowery Trail up and over the mountains into Pend Oreille County before moving into Idaho.

“Its been a challenge figuring out the logistics for this,” Poindexter said “But it has been an adventure seeing all this country and meeting different people every day.”

He has been putting in about 8-12 hours of walking a day depending on where camping spots are and when he can stop.

His goal is to make it to Colorado and then assess and plan the East Coast leg of his trip – which will at least be less mountainous.

Washington State has some animal crossings, perhaps the most visible being the one on I-90. Conservation Northwest is a group working on pushing for more wildlife crossings, as well as some federal legislation being proposed.

Poindexter said that if you want to get involved with crossings, you can call your representative about wildlife crossings and join an organization that is working on getting these types of projects in the works.

For the most part, it has been a beautiful trek for the avid outdoorsman – someone who has climbed several Colorado peaks over 14,000 feet – and it’s been heartening to receive a warm reception from people when they learn what he is walking for.

“My thought was to do this walk, bring in some attention, shake some trees,” Poindexter said.

You can follow Poindexter on his walk as he is posting on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube as @BoldyExplore.

Poindexter also has a website that you can go to at www.boldlyexplore.com/walk-4-wildlife-crossings.html