Every year, on the first warm, rainy nights of spring, thousands of amphibians make their way to vernal pools to breed. Many are killed when they must cross busy roads. Since 2006, our volunteer Salamander Crossing Brigades have helped more than 42,000 amphibians survive the most dangerous journey of their lives.
Last year, the City of Keene closed the North Lincoln Street amphibian crossing site to vehicle traffic on these “Big Nights” — the first and only time (so far) a road has been closed to ensure the safe passage of migrating amphibians anywhere in the Granite State. These temporary road closures saved the lives of thousands of amphibians, and also provided a safe place for dozens of families to witness the migration. One 3rd grader, whose parents only felt safe taking him to the crossing because the road was closed to vehicles, reported that it was “the best night of my life.”
Keene is once again considering a proposal to close the North Lincoln Street crossing site to vehicles on amphibian migration nights in the spring of 2019. The City’s Municipal Services, Facilities, and Infrastructure (MSFI) Committee will discuss the proposal on Wednesday, January 9 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Keene City Hall. A show of public support at this meeting could go a long way toward making these road closures a reality for a second season and beyond. There will likely be opportunity for public comment, but even if there’s not, just showing up makes a statement that you care. You do not need to be a Keene citizen to attend.
If you plan to attend the meeting, please let us know so we can notify you if anything changes. If you have a reflective vest — the official uniform of our Crossing Brigade volunteers! — wear it to the meeting as a show of support.
For more information or to RSVP, please contact Brett Amy Thelen at (603) 358-2065 or by email.
Update: On January 9, to rousing applause, the MSFI Committee voted unanimously in favor of once again closing the North Lincoln Street amphibian crossing site to vehicle traffic on amphibian migration nights! On January 17, the full Keene City Council also voted unanimously in favor of the proposal, the final step in the approval process. One of the Councilors said, “If you really want to see a bunch of dedicated individuals, go out to Jordan Road [when] it’s raining, and there’s a whole bunch of people…with flashlights escorting salamanders across the road. It’ll bring tears to your eyes. It is just so, so nice.”
THANK YOU to all of our Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers for helping make these amphibian detours a reality!