This Washington Town Has Unique Infrastructure To Make Squirrels' Lives Easier

There's no denying that humans like to spread out. In efforts to claim land for homes, farming and other purposes, people often, sadly, ruthlessly carve a path through whatever already happened to be there.

As the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reports, the loss of habitat is the primary threat to many of the planet's species. The expansion of agriculture and industry is a major cause of this. It would be unfair to say, however, that we always endanger our fellow creatures. We may indeed need to change our ways, and efforts are underway to do so, but humankind can also be a tremendous force of good for the planet and its residents.

Per the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources' Red List, protection and monitoring of such species as the Keel-scaled boa, which is categorized as vulnerable, can contribute to their recovery and numbers steadily increasing. The squirrels of a city in Washington state were endangered by a very different sort of human threat: traffic on busy roads. Luckily, the locals devised a brilliant solution to their furry friends' plight.

Nutty Narrows Bridge, the brilliant little overpass that could

There's really no downplaying the dangers animals face on the roads. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (via Sierra Nevada Ally in September 2021), 1 million of them are killed on the roads of the United States every year. In the same 24-hour period, approximately 190 million vehicles travel the nation's expansive road network, a dizzying figure that seems to make such collisions so frequent.

When it comes to pedestrians (human ones), the figures are also terrible. In the United States, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that in 2021, an estimated 7,485 people on foot were killed by motor vehicles. Road safety initiatives, such as the United Nations Global Road Safety Week, tend to focus on the preservation of human lives, but what of the animals? They didn't ask for this or that highway to be built, after all.

As My Longview reports, the squirrels of Longview, Washington certainly weren't overlooked. A bridge, lovingly known as Nutty Narrows Bridge, was created in the town to allow squirrels to pass across a busy stretch of road safely.

In honor of Amos Peters, the best friend the squirrels ever had

My Longview explains that squirrels have long been beloved in the area. Workers at the Park Plaza office would offer food to them, and as any squirrel-lover knows, nothing attracts these adorable little rodents like an offering of food. Sadly, the building was located in a high-traffic area, and so the squirrels couldn't reach their bounty safely. After witnessing several tragic squirrel fatalities, a builder named Amos Peters and some colleagues had a brainwave: a bridge to give the critters safe passage. A member of the City Council reportedly coined the name Nutty Narrows, and the bridge (which is 60 feet long and was crafted largely from hose, per the outlet) was completed in 1963.

Per Atlas Obscura, the bridge, jokingly named for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, was a real success, and surely saved countless squirrel lives. Nutty Narrows inspired several other squirrel bridges in the region, and has been in its present place above Olympia Way since 2007.

Prior to that, per My Longview, the bridge had become such a mainstay that its renovation in 1983 was marked by a celebration attended by hundreds of children and high-profile guests. Upon his death in 1984, Peters, a pillar of the community, was honored with the creation of a statue. What did it depict? A squirrel, naturally.