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Contact: Robert Cook, Wildlife Ecologist, 508-487-3262 x0503
Superintendent George Price announces that traffic on Province Lands Road will continue to be occasionally detoured to protect spadefoot toads. The detour, which may be implemented from June 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. While spadefoot toads are not rare in the Province Lands, Cape Cod National Seashore 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 unfortunately many could be killed during their migration. To lessen vehicle impacts on the toads, the park will occasionally close Province Lands Road from just 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 rain, and will be infrequent. 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.
"Spadefoot toad migration is an increasingly rare natural phenomenon that still occurs at Cape Cod National Seashore," said Superintendent Price. "We are pleased that we have found a way to allow spadefoot toads to survive their 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.