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Cape Cod National Seashore to Continue Traffic Detours on Province Lands Road to Protect Spadefoot Toads for 2012

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Date: March 19, 2012
Contact: Rober Cook, Wildlife Ecologist, 508-487-2100 ext 0503

Cape Cod National Seashore has announced that there will be occasional traffic detours on Province Lands Road in Provincetown on rainy nights from late March through October. The detour program was established several years ago to protect the Eastern spadefoot toad, which is listed as "Threatened" by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Spadefoot use shallow temporary ponds in the Province Lands for breeding and the surrounding uplands to feed. They migrate to and from these ponds on rainy nights especially when the water table is high and temperatures are above 48 degrees. Unfortunately many are killed on roads. While spadefoot toads are not rare in the Province Lands, this is one of their last strongholds in

Province Lands Road is a popular crossing for many toads, and this spells trouble for them. To lessen spadefoot toad mortality, the park will occasionally close Province Lands Road from just past (north of) the entrance to Herring Cove Beach to the intersection with Race Point Road. These infrequent closures will only occur at night, during or after heavy rain. Because the water table level in the Province Lands is moderate this year, heavy rain would likely be required to initiate spadefoot toad activity this spring. Herring Cove Beach will remain accessible from Route 6, and Race Point Road will be unaffected, allowing continued access to Province Lands Visitor Center, Race Point Beach, Provincetown Airport, Race Point Ranger Station, and the oversand corridor. The detours will be managed by signs and traffic control devices. Visitors and residents are asked to drive slowly, for their safety and for the protection of park wildlife.

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Did You Know?

directional compass

Coastal waters were the original highways of the Cape. Today’s common but puzzling terms “Lower Cape” and “Upper Cape” (referring to the northern and southern areas of Cape Cod) originated with sailors. Southwesterly winds meant ships heading north were sailing "down-wind" to the Lower Cape.