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Toadfest returns to Summit Lake today

A popular event centred around the migration of Western toadlets returns this week to Summit Lake Provincial Park south of Nakusp.

Toadfest, which was not held during the pandemic, is a chance to learn more about toadlets and help them safely cross Highway 6. It’s on today from 4 to 7 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

“It’s a great environmental event that’s a lot of fun and a great opportunity to learn about different things,” says Angus Glass, with the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program.

“Most people think toads and other amphibians live in and around the water most of the year, when in fact they live most of their lives at higher elevations surrounding the lakes.”

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Summit Lake is an important breeding area for them, Glass says.

Although the toadlets are out and about, their migration is about three weeks behind schedule compared to other years due to the cool spring. Glass says hot weather is not conducive to their movement either, so they are not expecting to see huge numbers of them this week, but they are confident there will at least be some. You can collect them and transport them across the road safely.

Other efforts have also been made to reduce toad mortality, Glass says. The Ministry of Transportation has recently installed a second concrete tunnel for toadlets to get under the highway, and the Ministry of Forests has put up fencing to guide them into those tunnels.

“Lots of great work is going on that is helping the toad population, so we’re excited about that,” he says.

Toadfest is also an opportunity to learn about other species in the area, like owls, white sturgeon, and native plants. Each year there are live displays of animals and insects, and this year there will be one devoted to snails and slugs.

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