A toadlet hitches a ride across Highway 6 by Summit Lake.

A toadlet hitches a ride across Highway 6 by Summit Lake.

Hop along with Toadfest at Summit Lake

Summit Lake Provincial Park, just south of Nakusp, will give folks a chance to help toadlets safely across Highway 6.

Summit Lake Provincial Park, just south of Nakusp, will once again become a focal point for young and old alike wanting to help toadlets safely across Highway 6. It is the fourth annual Toadfest. It runs from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday Aug. 27, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28.

The event is coordinated by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program (FWCP), with support from B.C. Parks, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), CBT, and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (BCMOT).

“This event provides an opportunity to talk to biologists, understand the life cycle of the western toad, and learn about other species in the watershed – and of course to carry a few toadlets across the road,” says Trevor Oussoren, program manager for the FWCP (a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of B.C., First Nations and local community groups to support fish and wildlife impacted by the construction of BC Hydro dams) in the Columbia region.

Every year tens of thousands of western toadlets, each not more than the size of a dime, get squashed as they attempt their first migration from the shoreline of Summit Lake, across Highway 6, to upland habitat.

In addition to helping toadlets safely across the highway, there will be other activities to see and do, including live aquatic insects, amphibians, and reptiles on display, as well as information on invasive plants, bears and other wild animals living in the region.

In 2006 the B.C. Ministry of Environment and BCMOT began to address the situation through the design and installation of directional fencing and culverts called “toad tunnels” to safely guide the toads underneath the highway. Project partners are currently working to monitor and evaluate their effectiveness.

“We want Summit Lake to remain one of the key breeding areas for western toads in the Kootenay region, and the province,” said Arrow Area Supervisor for B.C. Parks, Chris Price.  “A key part in doing so is ensuring that local communities know the importance of it, and get involved in conservation efforts like this, quite literally, in a hands-on way.”

To ensure the safety of event participants, traffic control, donated by Yellowhead Road and Bridge (YRB), will be in place during the scheduled times, and drivers should expect very minor delays.

“Safety is paramount,” added Oussoren.  “And under no circumstances should people try to move these toadlets outside of the organized event.”

Camping spaces at Summit Lake Provincial Park cannot be reserved. To learn more about B.C. Parks, visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks. The event is free and containers for carrying the toadlets across the road will be provided. Parking is limited and carpooling is encouraged. For more information about the Toadfest event visit www.fwcp.ca, or call 250-354-6333.