The main job of the Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve is to provide a safe haven for all types of wildlife native to our area to live their lives without much disturbance from us humans. In order to ensure as little disturbance as possible, the park sometimes needs to take certain actions in order to allow that to happen. For example, closing some of the roads in the park to allow salamanders who call the preserve home a safe opportunity to find love.

The Preserve announced on Thursday they would once again be closing off the park loop near the preserve for roughly six weeks for what they call, "Salamander Crossing Season."

The closings will start on Tuesday, February 15th, and continue each day until Friday, April 1st. This will allow the salamanders who are beginning to emerge from their winter hibernation the ability to make their way to the vernal pool in the middle of the park for the purpose of finding that special someone and starting their own little salamander family without having to worry about getting run over by a car during their journey. They also allow the Preserve to conduct research on the health of its salamander population over that time.

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The loop will be closed using bright yellow gates that were funded by the community through a GoFundMe campaign conducted by Wesselman Woods during their "Save the Salamanders" campaign in 2021.

Wesselman Woods
Wesselman Woods

The good news is, the Nature Preserve will not be off-limits during the entire six-week timeframe. The gates will be closed from 4:00 PM each weeknight until 6:00 AM the following day. The gates will remain closed until 9:00 AM on Saturdays and Sundays. The remainder of the park will still be accessible like normal.

If you have any questions about the gates the research the Preserve will be conducting, contact Director of Natural Resources, Cindy Cifuentes, at 812-479-0771 or by email at

[Source: Wesselman Woods Press Release]

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