Snake Road in Shawnee National Forest to Close for Snake and Amphibian Migration

Snake Road in Shawnee National Forest to Close for Snake and Amphibian Migration

UNION COUNTY — Shawnee National Forest’s Snake Road is closing Sept. 1 to allow for the migration of snakes and amphibians from LaRue Swamp to nearby limestone bluffs. Closing the 2.5-mile-long road, also known as LaRue Road and Forest Service Road No. 345, helps ensure a safe crossing for these rare species, some of which are considered threatened and endangered in Illinois and the United States. The road will reopen to traffic on October 30, but people traveling on foot is permitted.

This two-month gradual migration event attracts visitors from across the country who are eager to witness the rich diversity of reptile and amphibian species along this stretch of road. About 66 percent of the amphibians and 59 percent of the reptiles known to occur in Illinois are found in this area.

This migration primarily occurs as species are preparing for winter hibernation. Cottonmouth snakes are the most common snakes that can be seen during this migration.

Visitors should be aware that LaRue-Pine Hills/Otter Pond is a federally designated Research Natural Area and the unauthorized collecting and handling of any of these species is prohibited under federal and state law.