Carcasses, complaints pile up |

Carcasses, complaints pile up

Special to the Daily Elk and deer carcasses dumped by Colorado Department of Transportation employees near U.S. Highway 24 south of Minturn have started drawing crows and grumbling from passing motorists.

EAGLE COUNTY – The partially-decayed, furry legs and bodies of dead dear and elk sticking through the dirt drew the crows.This was the scene a mile and a half south of Minturn on Highway 24, where 10 or more elk and deer carcasses had been disposed of by the Colorado Department of Transportation.The carcasses prompted numerous motorists last week to report the sight, town police Chief Lorenzo Martinez said. He in turn reported the matter to the Colorado Department of Transportation.New state transportation employees – unaware carcasses must be disposed of out of sight of the roadway – dumped 10 carcasses alongside the road, said Jim Pitkin, the transportation department’s area maintenance supervisor.

“We try not to pile them in one place and it did happen in this area,” Pitkin said.The animals died after being hit by cars on area roads, Pitkin said. The carcasses, in a ravine that runs into the Eagle River, pose no water quality problems or health risks to humans, said Ray Merry, head of the Eagle County Environmental Health Department.”It gets kind of blatantly gross, but from a scientific standpoint, bodies are made mostly of water,” Merry said. “It’s nothing that poses a water-quality risk.”

Scavengers normally dispose of the carcasses, Merry said.There are no regulations governing the disposal of wildlife carcasses, said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.”If people don’t like to see road kill, we’d encourage them to slow down,” Hampton said. “The solution is not necessarily hiding the carcasses, it’s finding different solutions.”In the future, some unsightly carcasses will be taken to the Eagle County Landfill, Pitkin said.

“As long as it’s out of sight without causing a problem that’s how we’ll continue to deal with it,” Pitkin said. “It’s kind of a fact of life for us. It’s a statewide issue on our highways.”Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14622, or, Colorado

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