The public is being asked to help the tiny toads safely cross the highway.

The public is being asked to help the tiny toads safely cross the highway.

Help the Summit Lake toads survive

The free community event aims to help a few toadlets safely across the highway.

The third annual western toadlet event — Toadfest — will occur at Summit Lake Provincial Park, just southeast of Nakusp on August 22 (4 to 7 p.m.) and August 23 (9 a.m. to noon).

The free community event aims to help a few toadlets safely across the highway. It has quickly become one of the highlight summer activities to do for many families in the Kootenay region.

The event is co-ordinated by the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program, with support from BC Parks, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Columbia Basin Trust.

“The timing of the event is right at the start of the annual toadlet migration so we can’t guarantee numbers, and the emphasis is on education and awareness about this important western toad breeding area,” said Trevor Oussoren, program manager for the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program in the Columbia region.

“The event provides an opportunity to talk to biologists, understand the life cycle of the western toad, and learn about other species in the watershed — and of course to have lots of fun in the process, as there will be games and live music as well.”

In addition to being able to find toadlets and carry them safely across the highway, there will be other activities to see and do, including live aquatic insects, amphibians and reptiles on display, information on invasive plants, face painting and a chance to explore a simulated toad tunnel.

Every year tens of thousands of western toadlets, each not more than the size of a dime, get squashed as they attempt their first migration from the shoreline of Summit Lake, across Highway 6, to upland habitat.

“Summit Lake is one of the key breeding areas for western toads in the Kootenay region, if not the province,” said Arrow-area supervisor for BC Parks, Chris Price. “We need to ensure that it remains that way for generations to come, and a key part in doing so is ensuring that local communities know what we have here.”

The event is free and containers for carrying the toadlets across the road will be provided. Parking is limited, and carpooling is encouraged. For more information about the event visit fwcp.ca or call 250-354-6333.