Amphibian migration season to cause some closures at East Fork State Park

Pictured above is the Spotted Salamander and Wood Frog, two commonly found amphibians at East Fork State Park. The last photo is of a group of event participants looking for these amphibians in the wet, low lying areas.

Spring is just around corner and that means life at East Fork State Park is starting to wake up
including one of nature’s smallest and most elusive group of creatures, amphibians. Amphibians are a group of animals that are characterized by slimy skin, jelly-like eggs and a life cycle that takes place on both land and in the water. For Ohio, this includes frogs and salamanders! Each spring, many different species of frogs and salamanders emerge from their winter hideaways and make their way towards vernal pools, a temporary shallow source of water found in fields and forests all over southwestern Ohio. One of the best local places to see this once a year migration is found right next to the East Fork Campground. The whole area from the campground road down to the North-Shore boat ramp is wonderfully preserved wet woodland and is home to thousands of amphibians all making their way to vernal pools to mate and lay their eggs. This march of the amphibians usually occurs on the first few warm, rainy nights of spring anytime between February 15th and April 15th ; typically occurring sometime in March.

To help preserve this important group of creatures, park staff have installed a gate that will close off the park road #4 leading to the North shore boat ramp; right at the entrance to the campground . The gate will only be closed on nights when amphibians are most likely to migrate between the dates of February 15th to April 15th. Favorable amphibian nights include warm temperatures and rain. The gate, which will be closed at dusk on those favorable nights, will be reopened at dawn the following morning by park staff or volunteers. The boat ramp at the campground area will remain open during this time to accommodate boaters.

If you would like to know more about these interesting creatures, park staff will be hosting an educational event on Friday, March 9th from 7:30pm to 9:30pm beginning at the campground. This March for Amphibians event is a great way to explore the park at dusk and learn about Ohio’s resident amphibians. Explore the woods in the fading light and look for animals that might only come out of the ground once a year! This event is free and great for all ages, staff just ask that all who attend be properly dressed in outdoor gear, shoes for mud and bring their own flashlight. They will provide the rest!

For more information regarding possible gate closures and event information please contact Park Staff at either (513) 797-6081 or (513) 734-2730. Information will also be posted on the Corps of Engineers Facebook page found at https://www.facebook.com/HarshaLake/.