UPDATED: Friday, August 2, 2019
Toad closures: Lost Lake Beach, Lost Lake Road, portion of Valley Trail
The Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) has temporarily closed Lost Lake Beach and the portion of the Valley Trail leading to the beach. The Lost Lake access road and parking lot have also been closed to vehicle traffic.
Closures are in place to protect thousands of tiny western toads currently migrating from the lake to the forest.
The closure will be in effect until further notice. The Lost Lake events lawn has also been closed to protect the toad migration. All other Lost Lake trails remain open at this time. We ask that residents and visitors watch for signage indicating “active migration zones” and watch their step and walk bikes in these areas as “Toadlets” are no bigger than the size of a dime and can be easily crushed under foot.
The RMOW’s environmental technicians and volunteers are on site monitoring the situation and helping the toads to safely cross the Valley Trail to forest areas.
The free Lost Lake Shuttle will continue to run with minor changes, visitors will now be dropped off at the entrance to Lost Lake Road on Blackcomb Way. From there it is a level, paved, five-minute walk to the lake trail system.
Food trucks scheduled for Lost Lake will be cancelled during the access road closure. The full up to date schedule is available at whistler.ca/foodtrucks.
The RMOW thanks everyone for their understanding and cooperation, and apologizes for any inconvenience.
About the western toads
Each year, tens of thousands of tiny western toads migrate from the beach area in Lost Lake Park to the surrounding forest areas.
These toadlets are smaller than the size of a dime, and their migration typically occurs between the end of July and end of August and takes two to four weeks.
During peak hours an estimated 1,800 toads per hour can cross the beach trail. Weather conditions can significantly alter their behaviour, but the toadlets tend to be most active in crossing areas from 8 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. during the migration period.
Western toads are blue-listed in British Columbia, which means they are an indigenous species that are of special concern and vulnerable in their environment. Human activities—especially roads and urban development that compromise forests and wetlands— are leading to the loss of suitable habitat and the creation of migration barriers for amphibians. Toads and toadlets have annual migrations, which are especially risky when trails, roads and highways cross their route.
About the RMOW’s monitoring program
The municipality’s bio monitoring program focuses on indicator species that provide an insight into the greater health of Whistler’s ecosystems. Western toads are an integral part of the Lost Lake ecology, and have been monitored by the RMOW since 2005.
The RMOW has installed permanent features including fencing, signage and an underpass to protect the breeding and tadpole habitat along the shoreline of Lost Lake Park and migration.
In addition to permanent features a number of temporary fences, signs, boardwalks are installed closer to migration.
Monitoring the stages and development of the tadpoles throughout the summer enables the RMOW to proactively prepare for the migration and focus on public education.