Frog Walks at Hyla Park Nature Preserve
Within Fredericton City limits lies one of the few places in New Brunswick where the Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor) makes its home. As the namesakes of Hyla Park Nature Preserve, these unique amphibians rely on the area as the perfect habitat for their lifecycle, making conservation and education of Hyla Park essential for their survival.
In the past, the area now known as Hyla Park was used as a stock race car track and unauthorized dump. In the early 1990s, wildlife photographer and herpetologist Don Vail observed the diverse biotic population thriving within the park and began rallying support for the area to become protected. Beginning in 1995, Frog Walks were used as a conservation awareness tool when NTNB began seeking conservation status for the park. When Hyla Park became protected in 1996 through a renewable lease with the City of Fredericton, the walks grew from a few held each season to many private and public tours in the spring and summer months. Since becoming a protected area, Hyla Park Nature Preserve has received status and bragging rights as Canada’s First Amphibian Sanctuary.
Why a Frog Walk?
Whereas Hyla Park is home to seven out of the nine frog and toad species found in New Brunswick, the name for the guided amphibian tours, or Frog Walks, was fitting! Hyla Park is also home to two species of salamander and one species of newt. Frog Walks allow the respectful study of amphibians and their habitats, while also allowing for the exploration of the wetlands and all other biodiversity to be found there.
Here is a list of Hyla Park’s amphibian species:
- Gray Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)
- Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
- Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans)
- American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
- Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens)
- Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus)
- American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)
- Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale)
- Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
- Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)
In the warmer months, there are many insects that call Hyla Park home, including an abundance of mosquitoes. While this is great for the amphibians, it is not so great for us, so to best experience Hyla Park we recommend to come prepared.
Here are some guidelines to best enjoy the Hyla Park experience:
- Rubber boots are a Hyla Park necessity, as the trails can be muddy and/or flooded at times. If you do not own rubber boots, please wear your most rugged, outdoor footwear
- Although it may be warm out, please cover skin to avoid mosquito bites (hat, long sleeve shirt, long pants, and/or mosquito mesh clothing).
- Please wear and/or bring sunscreen on hot and sunny days.
- Please wear rain gear (rain jacket and splash pants) when necessary.
- Be mindful and respect the area as habitat to many ecologically sensitive species. Do not pick any flowers. Do not pick up or touch amphibians in the park unless with a Nature Trust guide. Always release amphibians safely back to the wild where they were found.
*The use of bug and mosquito repellent is not promoted due to its harmful effects on amphibians. However, it can be used if necessary. Visitors who use mosquito repellent are not allowed to touch amphibians, but can still enjoy the walk.
The best way to learn about a Frog Walk is through experience! Frog Walks are organized when our amphibian friends reappear from their hibernation in the spring and summer months (May-August).
All are welcome and encouraged to attend a Frog Walk! See our events section for a schedule for public walks. Private Frog Walks can also be arranged for schools, day camps, and other youth/community groups.
Frog Walks take place rain or shine, but may be cancelled due to thunder and lightning storms. Cancellations will be posted on our Facebook page or announced on the radio.