Toadlets like this one will be given a helping hand next week at Summit Lake Provincial Park. Submitted photo

Western toads, snakes, and more at Toadfest 2018

Annual event returns to Summit Lake Provincial Park next week

You’re invited to Toadfest at Summit Lake Provincial Park, near Nakusp on Wednesday, Aug. 22 between 4 and 7 p.m., and Thursday, Aug. 23, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.

This free, fun, family event, coordinated by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, raises awareness about the western toad, including its life cycle, habitat, and the challenges it faces. The event is timed to coincide with the migration of the toadlets that emerge from Summit Lake and make their way to higher ground in mid-summer each year, where they mature into adults.

Toadfest is also about sharing information about other local flora and fauna, and provides a great opportunity to get up close and personal to a variety of local species, including other amphibians, snakes, lizards, and aquatic insects.

“While the dime-sized toadlets may receive much of the attention during Toadfest, the ongoing research and restoration work at Summit Lake primarily focuses on adult toads,” says Fish and Wildlife Columbia region manager Crystal Klym. “This work has included the installation of wildlife fencing and toad tunnels, which provides safer passage under the highway. For a female that can carry up to 16,000 eggs safe passage from Summit Lake to upland habitat is extremely important.”

There will be a variety of kids’ activities and displays, including live animals. Exhibitors include the Slocan Lake Stewardship Society, BC Parks, Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions, Slocan River Streamkeepers, and WildSafeBC. For anyone wanting to get actively involved in improving the local ecosystem, the Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society is looking for volunteers during Toadfest to prepare the ground for native shrubs and plants that will be planted in the fall.

New for this year is the operation of a shuttle van between Naskup and Summit Lake Provincial Park. The service is provided for free, but seats must be reserved in advance. Call Nakusp Taxi for more details at 250-265-8222.

Toadfest is supported by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, BC Parks, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power, Yellowhead Road and Bridge Ltd., and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

The Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program is a partnership between BC Hydro, the Province of BC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, First Nations and public stakeholders, to conserve and enhance fish and wildlife in watersheds impacted by BC Hydro dams. For more information on Toadfest call 250-352-1300 or visit fwcp.ca.

You’re reminded not to carry toads across the road outside of this organized event.

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