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    Cape Cod

    National Seashore Massachusetts

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

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Date: March 24, 2010
Contact: Robert Cook, Wildlife Ecologist, 508-487-3262 ext. 106

The staff of Cape Cod National Seashore announce that they will continue to occasionally detour traffic on Province Lands Road to protect spadefoot toads.  The detour, which may be implemented from April through October, on rainy nights, is intended to help protect the eastern spadefoot toad. The spadefoot toad, which is listed as “Threatened” by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, uses 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 New England.  Heavy mortality from vehicles, over the long term, could cause this population to decline.  

Province Lands Road is a popular crossing for many toads, and this spells trouble for them. To lessen vehicle impacts on the toads, 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 closures will only occur at night, during or after heavy rain, and will be infrequent. Because the water table in the Province Lands is very high this year, staff expect there will be 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 Race Point Beach, Provincetown Airport, Race Point Ranger Station, and the oversand corridor. Said Superintendent George Price, “The spadefoot toad migration is one of the many increasingly rare natural phenomena still to be found in the National Seashore.  We’re pleased that we’ve found a way to allow spadefoot toads to survive the trip to and from their breeding ponds, while still maintaining visitor access to Herring Cove and the Race Point area.”  The detours will be managed by signs and traffic control devices.  Please drive slowly, to protect your own safety as well as park wildlife. 

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