You’ve asked yourself “why did the chicken cross the road?” But have you ever stopped to wonder, “why does the toad cross the road?” For residents of Whistler, it is a question that has been asked countless times in the last few days, as the municipality is closing multiple roads in order to protect thousands of road-crossing toadlets.

According to reports from their official Twitter page, the Resort Municipality of Whistler has closed off a number of busy tourist spots, including the Lost Lake access road, a nearby parking lot, the beach area and the events lawn.

Officials have also confirmed that they will be considering further closures in the area, in order to avoid any car vs. toad confrontations as the creatures make their annual migration from the lake into the nearby forest.

The western toads are extremely important to the Lost Lake area, the municipality explains. The tadpoles feed on the lake’s residue, which keeps the water clean, and helps maintain a healthy ecosystem. Once the tadpoles mature, they move to the forest during the August migration, with up to 40,000 of them making the journey across the roads.

In a news release regarding the toads, the municipality said, “The RMOW has installed permanent features including fencing, signage and an underpass to protect the breeding and tadpole habitat along the shoreline of Lost Lake Park and migration.”

The statement added, “In addition to permanent features a number of temporary fences, signs, boardwalks are installed closer to migration.”

It is especially important to add measures to protect the toadlets at this stage in their life, particularly as they are so tiny it is hard to see them! At this time, the toadlets will be smaller than a dime in size, and they blend in extremely well with their surroundings. 

In a tweet, RMOW noted that anybody who wanted to travel to Lost Lake would be able to take the transit service for Route 8, which is a free shuttle to Lost Lake. The page noted that buses would be there to drop off and pick up passengers on Blackcomb Way.

Their migration is expected to last between two and four weeks, and typically occurs between the end of July and the end of August.

So, if you’re in the Whistler area this summer, keep your eyes peeled for tiny hopping toads when you’re walking and driving, and if you’re heading towards the Lost Lake, make sure to do your research and be prepared for any toad-closures en route!

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