Unusual year at Summit Lake Toad Fest

Toad Fest is an annual tradition at Summit lake near Nakusp.

Visitors gather to help hundreds of thousands of tiny western toads migrate across a local highway.

However, the unique event will be a little different this year as many of the tiny amphibians aren’t ready to cross the road.

“The breeding happened earlier than [it has] for decades and we thought that this would actually be past the peak of the toadlet migration, but as you can see these toadlets they’ve got tiny tails,” event organizer Angus Glass said.

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Those tiny tails mean the vast majority of toadlets are not far enough along in their lifecycles for the mass migration.

“If people are coming here to see a large migration, they’re not [going to see that], but you get a feel of kind of what is going on,” Glass said.

One of the key goals of the event is to teach people more about the tiny amphibians. So while visitors won’t be helping as many toads cross the road this year, they can still spot tadpoles massing on the shore of Summit Lake, see their predators in action and learn more about the toads.

“There is a good healthy population of tadpoles…and there [are] specific breading areas around the lake, but we want to keep it like that. They’ve been around for thousands of years we want to make sure that that is still the case,” Glass said.

Toad Fest will wrap up at noon on Thursday.

The mass migration of toads is expected to happen just a few days after the festival finishes.

The western toad has become a political issue in the Summit Lake area. An organization owned by the Village of Nakusp has plans to log in the region and some worry that could impact the toads.

Loggers say they won’t be logging cut blocks this summer, in part because of a larger number of young toads.

But they defend the logging saying precautions will be taken to protect the toads as part of their operations.