A call for action

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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Victim's mother, friend join lobby group to reduce moose- vehicle collisions

Denika Lynn Adams was looking forward to her high school graduation, but sadly, never made it to her prom.

Her mother, Crystal Adams, says the 18-year-old student from Shoal Harbour had a lot of friends, not only at Clarenville High, but all over the province. She was outgoing, athletic and played hockey, often competing with teams from other communities, such as Whitbourne, Glovertown and Bonavista.

Paulina Lambert holds the petition she began when her friend, Denika Adams, died in a moose-vehicle collision in April. Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Denika Lynn Adams was looking forward to her high school graduation, but sadly, never made it to her prom.

Her mother, Crystal Adams, says the 18-year-old student from Shoal Harbour had a lot of friends, not only at Clarenville High, but all over the province. She was outgoing, athletic and played hockey, often competing with teams from other communities, such as Whitbourne, Glovertown and Bonavista.

On the night of April 29, just two weeks before her grad, Denika was a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend. Adams said they were on their way to St. John's when, just east of the Avondale Overpass, a moose "popped right out in front of them."

Her boyfriend sustained in-juries and cuts to his head, shoulders and back in the collision, but Denika's condition was more severe.

"The accident occurred ar-ound 9:30 p.m. and seven minutes after 10 she was gone," Adams said.

Her daughter's boyfriend is "heartbroken," she said.

"This was his girlfriend, someone that he loved, and he basically was there with her when she died."

Although she's a single mom, Adams said she had paid for driving school for her daughter so she would be responsible and safe on the roads.

She said both Denika and her boyfriend were very responsible and mature.

Adams said her daughter's boyfriend told her he wasn't driving fast that night and she believes him, but the moose seemed to come out of nowhere, leaving him no time to react.

Since Denika's death, Adams said a lot of her friends have told her they want to see something done to prevent accidents like this.

Tuesday morning, Adams and one of Denika's friends, Paulina Lambert, were at Confederation Building. Paulina brought a stack of signed petitions to present to the government.

Both have joined the Save Our People Action Committee, started last year by Eugene Nippard of Grand Falls-Windsor, to urge government to do something to reduce the number of moose/vehicle collisions on the province's highways.

While waiting to meet with Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale, Environment and Conservation Minister Charlene Johnson and Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson, Nippard said his group planned to ask for action on its proposals, especially the fencing of moose-prone areas along the highway and a "nuisance moose program" to ensure moose reported near roads are removed by wildlife officials before an accident occurs.

"We just had a fatality where the nuisance moose was lingering on that highway for four days. ... That should never happen. That moose should have been removed and maybe that person could be alive today," Nippard said.

After a meeting that lasted about 90 minutes, Nippard emerged disappointed.

"We didn't achieve too much," he said.

While his group appreciates the opportunity to meet with three cabinet ministers and is thankful the government has cut more brush along the highways and increased the number of moose hunting licences, Nippard said it's simply not enough to deal with a moose population estimated at 320,000 animals.

Nippard said he was told the province has no plans to fence areas along the highway and doesn't have the funds or staff for a moose nuisance program.

He also suggested implementing a warning system that would detect moose through motion detectors and then trigger beams of light to warn motorists, but that wasn't well received by the cabinet ministers.

"I'm not very pleased with the meeting," Nippard said.

"They were also supposed to get back to us with statistics where most accidents are occurring," he said, adding they didn't have that information.

He said the government keeps telling his group that everything takes time.

"But while we're waiting, people are still being killed," he said.

The group's next step will be to organize a protest at Confederation Building, which will include people who have been disabled in moose-vehicle collisions.

High school students who were friends of two students killed in the past year are also willing to participate and will be bused into St. John's, Nippard said.

"I've contacted the high schools and they're willing to go. We'll be following behind. We'll have placards and demonstrate to the government 'You've got to take action now. If not, we've got other plans,'" he said.

Nippard said he's also been speaking with a lawyer in Alberta about the possibility of filing a class-action lawsuit against the province.

Adams said while the government argues it's too expensive to erect fences, it should consider the money spent every year on hospital care when people are seriously injured in moose/vehicle collisions.

dss@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Confederation Building, People Action Committee

Geographic location: St. John's, Shoal Harbour, Bonavista Alberta

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • CB
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    New Brunswick has a moose fence installed along their newest divided highway and it works great.
    Why can't all those able bodied people collecting social assistance give back to the community...there's your workforce now all you need are the materials....
    It is sad but true that nothing will be done to prove effective in the quest for highway-moose safety until the pain that accompanies these horrendous accidents is felt directly and deeply by those who make the rules.
    Until then drive safely and be alert at all times...predict the unpredictable.

  • Willie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:29

    If you're a young driver and you have to drive on a highway full of moose you are better off waiting for daylight than risk driving in the dark.

    Willie Hunt
    Pouch Cove NL

  • locodog
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    We should give every moose we catch crossing the highway a jay walking ticket if they are not crossing at a moose crossing sign. What the heck do moose they think we put those sign's up for...... Stupid Moose.

    Sorry everybody, I agree, it is a serious problem and something should be done. I wouldn't expect to much from the Government. They make money off the fall moose hunts in numerous ways. I doubt they will give up the revenue.

  • Michael
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    My heartfelt feelings go out to families of victims of these senseless fatal accidents due to the introduction of a handful of wildlife more than a century ago...as yet I have not (and hope to be never in the position) of losing an immediate member of my family. However in recent years coousins and friends of mine were recipients of sad news as a result of Moose-vehicle collisions. A mom to two young boys, short of celebrating her 25th birthday left her 24 yearold joy of her life as a widower of two small boys. Every now and then I see references that her FRIEND and sister-in-law is still aching in her heart because of the lost!
    There has been call for eveything from issuing more licenses - to - kill TO placing fences along both sides of the TCH as theyhave in other provincial jurisdictions. A petition for the latter may still be making the rounds. NOTHING has changed.

    Two decades ago on an access road to the TCH a (name withheld) MHA while on ... way to St John's resulted in an IMMEDIATE action to cut back brush and shrubs (on both sides of the Roach's Line) allowing for eye contact of the menace we know as moose.

    How many more families have to be tragically affected before something POSITIVE and Immediate is done?

  • Ulster
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    I used to make a 200km round trip to work 3 times a week through the heart of moose country in New Brunswick and it baffles me how people KNOW there are moose and deer roaming the highways, but they think they have to do 130 km/h to get to their destination.

    And of course, there are people who hit moose that tell everyone, I wasn't driving too fast! But, when I was driving to work and still log a fair amount of kms on NL highways, people are passing me like I am stopped (I do 80-85km/h).

    Something doesn't add up.

  • Richard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    I like Edna's idea. I also think more hunting licenses would help. People are still rejected in the draw - myself included, for this year. Why can't regular hunters be allowed to hunt each year since population numbers are so high? Next thing there will be a bounty on moose akin to the one for coyotes. The argument that 'less licenses=less hunters=less risk of hunting accidents' doesn't really make sense to me.

  • Busy Bayman
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Bravo Twiggy, Bravo!!!

  • Taxpayer
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Come on Danny reduce the speed on major roads in the night to 75 kph. Even if you kill half the moose and put up a fence from here to Port aux Basque, it is possible for a moose to get onto the highway

  • Twiggy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    He also suggested implementing a warning system that would detect moose through motion detectors and then trigger beams of light to warn motorists would trigger in snow, would trigger in rain, would trigger for pranksters and you'd need 10,000 of these units. I'd like to take one for my cabin, please install them.

    Unfortunately, this problem is unsolvable, you can only mitigate it with experience, wisdom, improved driver training and SLOWING DOWN and STAYING OFF YOUR PHONE.

    I think it's good therapy for people who've been affected by moose-vehicle collisions to take some form of action to help them feel better, but that's all it will amount to. Ultimately, you assume the risks of driving every time you sit behind the wheel whether it be downtown LA or moose country NL. It's YOUR choice. No one has given you any guarantees for safety.

  • Edna
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    Maybe if the government supplied the fencing materials, and all these people in jails did the constructing of the fence, less accidents with moose would take place. Something has to be done....way too many people are being maimed or killed on that highway.

  • W
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    When you got 3 Cabinet ministers in ameeting you know you are doomed, they come in numbers to defend themselves.

    As long as SJ remains the center for all major services (especially on the avalon), Health Care, driver testing, grad tux & dress rental & purchase uyou require people in rural NF (and teh avalon) to travel to SJ's for these services. It 's a risky venture against a non-native pest called the moose.

    Sadly until a family or friend of an MHA gets killed, you'll see no action.

  • Grandma
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    We can't wait for government to act, let's start a campaign to raise funds, hopefully provincial and municipal governments will re-act and get on board. Tell me where to send what I can afford and my cheque will be in the mail.

  • CB
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    New Brunswick has a moose fence installed along their newest divided highway and it works great.
    Why can't all those able bodied people collecting social assistance give back to the community...there's your workforce now all you need are the materials....
    It is sad but true that nothing will be done to prove effective in the quest for highway-moose safety until the pain that accompanies these horrendous accidents is felt directly and deeply by those who make the rules.
    Until then drive safely and be alert at all times...predict the unpredictable.

  • Willie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:17

    If you're a young driver and you have to drive on a highway full of moose you are better off waiting for daylight than risk driving in the dark.

    Willie Hunt
    Pouch Cove NL

  • locodog
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    We should give every moose we catch crossing the highway a jay walking ticket if they are not crossing at a moose crossing sign. What the heck do moose they think we put those sign's up for...... Stupid Moose.

    Sorry everybody, I agree, it is a serious problem and something should be done. I wouldn't expect to much from the Government. They make money off the fall moose hunts in numerous ways. I doubt they will give up the revenue.

  • Michael
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    My heartfelt feelings go out to families of victims of these senseless fatal accidents due to the introduction of a handful of wildlife more than a century ago...as yet I have not (and hope to be never in the position) of losing an immediate member of my family. However in recent years coousins and friends of mine were recipients of sad news as a result of Moose-vehicle collisions. A mom to two young boys, short of celebrating her 25th birthday left her 24 yearold joy of her life as a widower of two small boys. Every now and then I see references that her FRIEND and sister-in-law is still aching in her heart because of the lost!
    There has been call for eveything from issuing more licenses - to - kill TO placing fences along both sides of the TCH as theyhave in other provincial jurisdictions. A petition for the latter may still be making the rounds. NOTHING has changed.

    Two decades ago on an access road to the TCH a (name withheld) MHA while on ... way to St John's resulted in an IMMEDIATE action to cut back brush and shrubs (on both sides of the Roach's Line) allowing for eye contact of the menace we know as moose.

    How many more families have to be tragically affected before something POSITIVE and Immediate is done?

  • Ulster
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I used to make a 200km round trip to work 3 times a week through the heart of moose country in New Brunswick and it baffles me how people KNOW there are moose and deer roaming the highways, but they think they have to do 130 km/h to get to their destination.

    And of course, there are people who hit moose that tell everyone, I wasn't driving too fast! But, when I was driving to work and still log a fair amount of kms on NL highways, people are passing me like I am stopped (I do 80-85km/h).

    Something doesn't add up.

  • Richard
    July 01, 2010 - 19:57

    I like Edna's idea. I also think more hunting licenses would help. People are still rejected in the draw - myself included, for this year. Why can't regular hunters be allowed to hunt each year since population numbers are so high? Next thing there will be a bounty on moose akin to the one for coyotes. The argument that 'less licenses=less hunters=less risk of hunting accidents' doesn't really make sense to me.

  • Busy Bayman
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Bravo Twiggy, Bravo!!!

  • Taxpayer
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Come on Danny reduce the speed on major roads in the night to 75 kph. Even if you kill half the moose and put up a fence from here to Port aux Basque, it is possible for a moose to get onto the highway

  • Twiggy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    He also suggested implementing a warning system that would detect moose through motion detectors and then trigger beams of light to warn motorists would trigger in snow, would trigger in rain, would trigger for pranksters and you'd need 10,000 of these units. I'd like to take one for my cabin, please install them.

    Unfortunately, this problem is unsolvable, you can only mitigate it with experience, wisdom, improved driver training and SLOWING DOWN and STAYING OFF YOUR PHONE.

    I think it's good therapy for people who've been affected by moose-vehicle collisions to take some form of action to help them feel better, but that's all it will amount to. Ultimately, you assume the risks of driving every time you sit behind the wheel whether it be downtown LA or moose country NL. It's YOUR choice. No one has given you any guarantees for safety.

  • Edna
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    Maybe if the government supplied the fencing materials, and all these people in jails did the constructing of the fence, less accidents with moose would take place. Something has to be done....way too many people are being maimed or killed on that highway.

  • W
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    When you got 3 Cabinet ministers in ameeting you know you are doomed, they come in numbers to defend themselves.

    As long as SJ remains the center for all major services (especially on the avalon), Health Care, driver testing, grad tux & dress rental & purchase uyou require people in rural NF (and teh avalon) to travel to SJ's for these services. It 's a risky venture against a non-native pest called the moose.

    Sadly until a family or friend of an MHA gets killed, you'll see no action.

  • Grandma
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    We can't wait for government to act, let's start a campaign to raise funds, hopefully provincial and municipal governments will re-act and get on board. Tell me where to send what I can afford and my cheque will be in the mail.