YORKTOWN, Va. - Turtle crossing!
The National Park Service announced the Island Loop Drive on Jamestown Island in Colonial National Historical Park will be closed intermittently during the last weeks of March and from April-June to allow turtles to move safely through their natural wetland habitat.
NPS will close this tour road to vehicle traffic at the gate located just past the Jamestown Island Visitor Center.
Park staff and trained volunteers will monitor turtle activity on a routine basis. More closures may occur sporadically throughout the year as conditions warrant.
The Jamestown Island tour roads, which were developed in the 1950s, were built in a way that crossed wetlands, becoming a barrier between upland areas and marsh ecosystems. These two habitats are used by five of the eight documented turtle species in the park.
The turtles live in ponds, wetlands and the top few inches of the forest floor or inside fallen logs and will crawl or hop distances of a few hundred feet or sometimes more than a quarter of a mile mile in their range to feed and breed.
According to NPS, closing the tour road to vehicles reduces the risk of turtles being crushed by vehicle tires.
The Island Loop Drive will remain open to cyclists and visitors on foot, but those visitors must watch for turtles in the road, especially juveniles, which can be crushed by bicycle tires.