Editorials

A new kind of sign for Mount Rainier

By the Herald editorial staff

We've all seen the sad little memorial signs along our highways -- crosses, perhaps a wreath -- to mark the death of some fellow human in an accident.

Today at Mount Rainier, according to the Seattle Times, symbols of another sort are marking the site of accidents.

Paw prints.

"Paw-print signs will go up in Mount Rainier National Park this weekend to recognize the animals that have been hit in the park by vehicles since 2007," wrote reporter Susan Gilmore last week.

There will be a lot of them.

They total 225, including 88 squirrels, nine chipmunks, seven deer, two bears (another survived) and one owl.

That's only 157 critters but park officials say ravens pick up many carcasses very quickly, so identification of fatalities could be difficult.

The purpose is to remind people of the dangers of speeding and feeding (which draws animals to the roadways).

It's a splendid idea, putting up these signs. We regret the park service is putting them up only this weekend.

It's well worth the effort, and if small enough, the signs would not be intrusive.

People go to the 95 miles of roads within the park for the scenery, and most are not in a hurry. But there's something about "S" curves on mountain roads that bring out the Grand Prix instincts of some drivers.

A little pawprint might do a lot better than a 45 mph sign to slow them down.

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