Call it the journey of the frogs, or the salamander migration, but in the coming weeks River Road in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area will be closed overnight for a few nights to allow for these amphibians to reach the other side of the road.
NRA Superintendent John Donahue says the road likely will be closed for several nights from mid-March to mid-April to protect these migrating amphibians. The earliest closures could begin within the next week and are contingent on the weather, he says.
According to NRA officials, there are "a few spring nights when warm rains fall and a myriad of wood frogs, spotted salamanders, spring peepers and other spring-breeding amphibians suddenly feel the ancestral urge to search the environment for prospective mates."
The trigger for these road closures will be forecasts calling for rain with mild temperatures. Since the amphibians are active principally at night and have completed their treks by dawn, the closures will be between approximately 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., NRA officials say.
Since 2003, park managers at the NRA have taken steps to protect migrating amphibians by closing River Road on two or three mild, rainy nights. This action also offers a rare opportunity for the public to view this special event in a protected park environment. For additional information about where to see migrating amphibians, call Park Headquarters on weekdays (570-426-2452).
Gates in the park will be closed and locked at the Hialeah picnic area on the southern end of River Road and by Park Headquarters near the intersection of Hidden Lake Road and River Road to the north. Drivers are reminded that skirting these gates will result in fines of $50 to $150, at a minimum, and that the potential injury to members of the public from that action will be a criminal offense.