Residents of a village in the Kootenay region of B.C. say their town-owned logging company shouldn't be cutting down sensitive toad habitat. 

The western toad migration near the Village of Nakusp attracts tourists every summer to Summit Lake to fill buckets with the toads and carry them safely across Highway 6 to forest habitat.

The mass migration is a moving carpet of brown toads as more than a million migrate from the lake across the highway to forested habitat where they live for four or five years before returning to the lake to breed.

Western toad migration signs

Every year Western toads make three migrations, from mountain side to lake, 18 km southeast of Nakusp on Highway 6 at Summit Lake. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation/Flickr)

The province has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect the toads by putting up signs and building underpasses. 

But now NACFOR, a company owned by the village, wants to start logging in the area. 

"If they want to log then they should have proof positive it's not going to impact the toads and right now they don't," said biologist and environmental lobbyist Wayne McCrory.

"They have a very weak case for them to proceed."

More than 300 people have signed a petition hoping to stop logging at Summit Lake between New Denver and Nakusp.

On its website, NACFOR states it plans to minimize road construction and ground disturbance for the toads, and that it has worked with experts to ensure they log responsibly. 

Forest Minister Steve Thomson says he's confident the migration route will be protected.

Kootenay West NDP MLA Katrine Conroy, who represents the Nakusp area, says the issue is putting the squeeze on local residents who want to protect the toads, but don't want to lose forestry jobs.

With files from Canadian Press