Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

News

Salamanders Get $284K Tunnel

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.

Some salamanders have all the luck: The threatened long-toed salamanders in Alberta’s Waterton Lakes National Park (adjacent to Glacier) are set to receive a $284,000 “tunnel of love” that will spare them from a quick and squishy death. Linnet Lake in Waterton Lakes serves as a historic breeding ground for the amorous amphibians, but they have to cross a busy roadway from their winter grounds to get there.

If they manage to avoid zooming SUV’s, they’ll mate and lay eggs in the lake. But then the salamanders have to cross back after they’re done doing the deed, creating a dubious double chance for death by Ford Expedition. Roadside casualties for Canadian long-toed salamanders are high every year in this spot.

Park officials expect construction on four under-road tunnels to last 10 days if weather holds. Wildlife managers will have access to time-lapse video footage to ensure the salamanders are using their nearly $300,000 gift. If the salamanders don’t use the tunnels, park officials could have to provide other means of safeguarding them. There’s been no word yet on what those means might be, but personally I’m hoping for either a salamander-sized suspension bridge and/or shuttle-bus service.

Wait till the bullfrogs in the Everglades hear about this— they are going to be positively green with envy.

— Ted Alvarez

Long-toed salamanders get “tunnel to love” at Waterton Lakes National Park (Daily Commercial News)