Keene to Close Road to Protect Migrating Amphibians

A wood frog makes her way across North Lincoln Street in Keene.

A wood frog makes her way across North Lincoln Street in Keene. This year, she’ll have a little extra help.
(photo: Brett Amy Thelen)

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 Salamander Crossing Brigades have moved 35,000 amphibians to safety at dozens of road crossings throughout the Monadnock Region.

We’re excited to report that the Keene City Council recently voted unanimously in favor of closing the North Lincoln Street amphibian crossing site to vehicle traffic on these “Big Nights” — ensuring the safety of migrating amphibians as well as the many families who come out to witness the migration each spring. Keene is the first community in New Hampshire to institute such a measure, and their decision was based in large part on data collected by our Salamander Brigade volunteers.

Over the last ten years, our volunteers have helped 9,242 live amphibians across the road at this site, and counted 1,632 dead.

In the coming month, City staff will be working closely with us to implement the road closures at North Lincoln Street. Road access and parking will change a bit at that site on Big Nights, but the critter counts will continue, for continuity of our data and so that we can report on how many amphibians benefited from the decision to close the road. Frogs and salamanders at other sites will still have to rely on the helping hands of the Crossing Brigades, at least for now.

Closing one short stretch of road for a few nights each spring may seem like a small thing, but to the thousands of amphibians who call the Robin Hood Park ecosystem home − and to all of the Salamander Crossing Brigade volunteers who have helped shepherd them to safety year after year, including everyone who came out to the standing-room-only meeting in support of the road closure proposal − it’s really not small at all.

For more information on the amphibian road closures or our Salamander Crossing Brigade program, please contact Science Director Brett Amy Thelen at