Salamander Crossing LbNA # 28144
|Placed Date||Jan 7 2007|
|Found By||Inveterate Learner|
|Last Update||Oct 7 2007|
Once a year, during the first full moon after the first warm rain, spotted salamanders venture down Shades Mountain in Homewood, heading to the wetlands of Shades Creek. In order to reach this breeding ground they must cross South Lakeshore Drive. Homewood resident, Don Stewart, spearheaded the campaign to have signs erected along this road, not to stop trafic for salamanders wiggling across, but to make people aware that these creatures exist and share our urban environment. Spotted salamanders or Ambystoma maculatum, are jet black with orange or yellow spots. The Salamander Crossing signs are frequent targets of theft, so they may not be there when you visit. However you can find two "crossing zones" painted on the pavement of South Lakeshore drive just past the trail entrance.
To reach the box, turn off Lakeshore onto Old Montgomery Highway (near Homewood Highschool). Turn right on South Lakeshore between the National Guard Armory and Covenant Presbyterian Church. Park in the Homewod High lot just before the gymnasium. Walk up South Lakeshore back toward the armory. Just past the utility easement, you will see the kiosk marking the entrance to Homewood Forest Preserve on your right. Cross the small footbridge to your left. Follow the path that runs beside the creek. This is the aptly named "Switchback Trail". You will reach a tree that has fallen across the path and been cut to allow passage. When we planted the box, this was the first cut tree on the path - but this could, of course, change. You can recognize the proper tree by the large tree head with lots of pinecones lying to the left of the path. The box is hidden on the right side of the path under the trunk portion of the tree. Underneath the fallen tree there are two other logs that come to a "v". The box is hidden at the juncture of these three logs. It is covered by leaves and sticks. Please be sure to recover it well as this hiding spot is visible from above as you continue along the trail.
NOTE: Before you set out you must read and agree to the Waiver of Responsibility and Disclaimer.