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Location: Mentor, Ohio, United States
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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Greenways are Important for Animal Conservation

Each day, millions of animals are attempting to stay alive in a human-made, controlled environment that has little thought for their well-being. Turtles, foxes, and deer had a much easier commute before there were so many cars, roads, and housing developments, with their miles of fences and other dividers.

Having a greenway can mean the difference between an animal being able to find food, find a mate, or run from a predator, and starving, being partnerless and childless, or being eaten. And what happens to them when they do attempt to cross our packed highways and local roads puts a whole new meaning to the idea of being "stuck in traffic." Greenways in developed areas are critical for both the safety and protection of animals and the sanity of people.

Greenways are not just corridors for animals to travel from one place to another. Most animals depend on movement over large areas to be able to meet mates from outside their family group to preserve the genetic strength of their kind. Greenways connect areas of open space to each other, so that both animals and people benefit; the animals get to move around without threat of being run over by an SUV, and people can hike, bike or horseback ride from one park to another. Greenways can also include historic areas, like battlefields, farms or buildings.

One of the easiest ways to make a greenway is converting old rail lines into trails, oftentimes paving them, which is popular in the Northeast and Midwest where there are a lot of old rails rusting away. Because rail lines were designed to avoid steep grades, they are perfect for becoming human and animal pathways, and can be used by people of all ages, since they are usually pretty easy to walk on. In some states, greenways include waterways, and areas near to them, in order to provide buffer zones around freshwater resources.

Greenways will help aid in animal conservation, which will benefit everyone.

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