Lynx terrorized by car; Dam Road deemed safe

It was the best of times on Summit County roads Friday, and it was the worst of times.

The good times were enjoyed by fans of the Dillon Dam Road, which reopened to daytime public traffic after a vague and undisclosed threat of terrorism caused the Denver Water Board to shut down one of only three east-west roads in the county — unleashing a wave of public and political outcry.

The bad times — in fact, the end times — came for a radio-collared Canada lynx released as part of the state’s reintroduction program for the endangered and elusive wildcats.

It was struck by a car on Colorado Highway 9 Friday and became the subject of a massive rescue effort by good Samaritans who were flipped off by a few irate motorists, but the tuft-eared animal later died at a Frisco animal hospital.

Canada lynx know a thing or two about terrorism — at least the eco variety — having been the beneficiary of what at the time was the costliest ($12 million) act of monkey wrenching in U.S. history: the October 1998 arson fires on Vail Mountain that were sparked to stop a ski expansion into prime lynx habitat. The Earth Liberation Front claimed responsibility and several members were arrested and convicted last year.

The relatively successful lynx reintroduction program began earlier this decade in the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, but the migrating cats are still waiting for the wildlife bridge near Vail Pass. Thirteen have been killed by cars so far, and another 13 by scofflaw “hunters.”

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail and Real Aspen.

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