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Heard on the Hill: Governing Like the Wolf

Sometimes, life imitates art.

Fans of “The West Wing” (which include most Capitol Hill staffers) might remember an episode in which White House staffers participate in “Big Block of Cheese Day.” This requires administration officials to meet with fringe groups (described by Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman as “crackpot”) that normally wouldn’t get attention.

In one scene, White House Press Secretary C.J. Cregg meets with people wanting to build a $900 million, 1,800-mile “wolves-only roadway.” Cregg doesn’t take the proposal seriously, joking that the wolves could “get drunk and wander off the wolves-only roadway and end up eating my cat.”

Flash forward to Tuesday, when an exhibition was displayed in the Rayburn House Office Building foyer for the ARC International Wildlife Crossing Infrastructure Design Competition. The event featured impressive-looking designs submitted by five finalists to create a “the next generation of wildlife crossing structures.”

Sound familiar?

That’s because the proposal in the series is, well, sorta true. The Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative helps manage the region to ensure wolves, bears and other wildlife can thrive through smart conservation methods. While there’s no “wolves-only roadway,” crossings such as the ones showcased Tuesday are shown to help prevent deadly collisions between animals and vehicles.

The crossings even have the support of Members such as Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.) and Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.).

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