Toad migration could close parts of Whistler park, officials say
Whistler typically sees 35,000 to 40,000 toads annually during migration
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is warning residents and visitors about possible upcoming closures around Lost Lake Park as thousands of Western toadlets migrate from the lake to the nearby forest.
The resort municipality said in a statement that once migration begins, the Lost Lake access road and parking lot will be closed to all vehicle traffic.
Lost Lake Beach, grassy areas, and the nearby trail will only be open to foot traffic, but could also close if there is a large number of migrating toads. During peak times, about 1,800 toads cross the beach trail every hour.
Western toad of 'special concern'
Lost Lake Park acts as the breeding ground for Whistler's largest population of Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas), a sensitive species that is native to British Columbia.
The amphibian can be sensitive to changes in its environment because of its porous skin.
Whistler began to implement measures nine years ago to help protect tadpoles and toadlets; it's at this stage of life that the population is most vulnerable, according to Whistler's website.
The municipality puts in protective measures like signs, fences and boardwalks so the dime-sized toadlets don't get squished under feet or bike wheels.
Environmental technicians and volunteers will be present to monitor the migration and help the toadlets move from the beach to the forest.
The migration period typically lasts two to four weeks between the end of July and the end of August.