Colonial Courtyard at Tyrone team member’s work inspired Florida log-crossings
TYRONE, Pa. — Black Moshannon State Park in Pennsylvania and the region known as Alligator Alley stretching across Florida seemingly would not have much in common.
But Colonial Courtyard at Tyrone’s Robert Bush Sr. and his “Bob’s Pennsylvania Wildlife Camera” social media presence literally helped “bridge” the gap between these two wonders of nature separated by more than a thousand miles of Interstate highways.
In August, our IntegraCare.com story detailed the popularity of “Bob’s Pennsylvania Wildlife Camera,” which features hours of footage recorded on trail cameras situated throughout Black Moshannon State Park and edited by Bush, the Safety and Maintenance Engineer at Colonial Courtyard at Tyrone senior living community for the past five years.
Bush’s Facebook page “Bob’s Pennsylvania Wildlife Camera” has 51,800 members. His YouTube page has 18,500 subscribers and features 340 videos.
The images show animals crossing “The Log,” which is situated across a small stream. A mother bear and her cubs often are seen swimming in a water hole. Many other animals and birds have been viewed in their natural habitat in stunning and often mesmerizing footage.
“The Log,” caught the attention of members of the Florida Department of Transportation and actually inspired some innovative improvements to help animals traverse the area near “Alligator Alley.”
Brent Setchell, District Drainage Design Engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation – District 1, recently reached out to Bush to inform him of “Bob’s Pennsylvania Wildlife Camera” footage and the impact it made in the Sunshine State.
“I wanted to share that your log wildlife videos were an inspiration for us at the Florida Department of Transportation,” Setchell wrote to Bush. “Back in 2017, we added wildlife fencing along a 9-mile stretch of I-75 (Alligator Alley) to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions. Along this section of roadway there are several existing cross drains (culverts) that dry out during the dry season and were documented being used by black bears, endangered Florida panthers and other wildlife. However, there are canals on both sides of Alligator Alley that were excavated for fill used for the roadway several decades ago.
“Wildlife who want to use the existing culverts had to swim the canals to be able to cross under the interstate. Inspired by your log crossings, Florida Department of Transportation came up with a unique design of using pile bridges across the canals to encourage wildlife to use the existing culverts. On the south side the canal is narrower and we were able to use timber piles (telephone poles) laid across the canal. On the north side the canal is wider and we chose a design using concrete bridge piles. The pile bridges were installed this past summer and we are already seeing great success.”
Bush has shared his videos with residents at Colonial Courtyard at Tyrone. Those so-called movie-night-style events have been among the most popular activities at the senior living community. He now can tell the residents how “Bob’s Pennsylvania Wildlife Camera” also is a hit in Florida.
Links provided by the Florida Department of Transportation show photos and videos collected at two locations where the pile bridges have been constructed:
A link to the Florida Department of Transportation wildlife bridge crossing GIS site enables readers to click on any of the green dots representing bridges where wildlife has been documented. Then click on the “Photo Collection” to see the photos and videos captured at that crossing.