If you're like me and had no idea Michigan even had salamanders, let alone an entire migration's worth of salamanders, you'll be even more surprised to learn the migration is large enough that a popular road will be getting restricted hours to work around the migrating salamanders.

 

A close up of a Blue-spotted Salamander on a bed of moss.
Jason Ondreicka
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Blue-spotted Salamander

The blue-spotted salamander is one of Michigan's most distinct animals, with its iconic black body and blue spots on its back. If you've never seen one before, don't be hard on yourself: despite their look, they spend most of their time underground, hiding under logs and rocks.

 

Amphibians prefer to lay their eggs in pools of water, and blue-spotted salamanders are no different. That's the reason why these salamanders are crossing the road to begin with. They are trying to reach vernal pools found in the woods to lay their eggs in.

 

PhoebeMillerDesign
Phoebe Miller Design
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Which Road and Why?

The road that is closing is Peter White Drive, the main road leading into Presque Isle Park in Marquette, MI. The road will be closed from 8 pm to 8 am daily until May 15th or until the migration is complete, according to Travel Marquette. This road has closed every year around this time since 2020 after a 2019 study found more than 400 salamanders were killed by cars. However, Michigan NPR reports that a tunnel is in development so the salamanders can avoid the road entirely.

 

Google Maps
Google Maps
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Pedestrians are still welcome to come to witness the migration. Northern Michigan University students and members of the Superior Watershed Partnership (SWP) will be present to help the salamanders safely cross the road.

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