Blue-Spotted Salamanders on the move at Marquette’s Presque Isle Park

The Great Lakes amphibians’ annual migration a springtime spectacle that local groups have gotten together to protect and preserve.
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Cool. Damp. Spring -- just as the Blue-Spotted Salamanders like it.

The night time is the right time for the Great Lakes-native amphibians to come up from their deep winter burrows.

“Thousands of Presque Isle Blue-Spotted Salamanders are making their way across Peter White Drive here, on their way to some wetlands where they lay their eggs and reproduce,” said Great Lakes Climate Corps Program Manager Tyler Penrod.

It is a ‘look but don’t touch’ experience for visitors as the salamanders need to keep their skin damp throughout the migration -- from the ‘Island’ to the wetlands overnight.

It was wave after wave late Thursday night at the city park, as they made the trek to their breeding destination.

More than 50 blue-spotted salamanders can be seen alone during a short walk from Moosewood Nature Center to the Superior Watershed Partnership office.

And if you’re lucky, spring peepers, toads and even giant water beetles may join the party.

To help protect the Blue-Spotted Salamanders’ journey, Peter White Drive is open only to foot traffic at night -- until April 15th.

“Which is the reason why we have these barriers up. The Superior Watershed Partnership partnered with the City of Marquette to prevent the deaths of hundreds of salamanders from vehicle traffic,” explained Penrod.

So on every rainy night ‘til mid-April, it’s a chance for us to be a part of a natural spectacle.

Take it from local musician Danielle Simandl, who has gone to the park for three nights -- and counting.

“You know, I’m a big fan of amphibians and reptiles and it’s just a cool thing to see. You definitely want a really bright flashlight because they blend with the road really well,” the amphibian and reptile aficionado said.

And be sure to yield to those crossing the crosswalk.

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