Sunday, December 10, 2023

Jamestown Island Loop Drive to Close Intermittently to Protect Migrating Turtles

The Woodland Box Turtle (Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources)

JAMES CITY COUNTY — The Island Loop Drive on Jamestown Island in Colonial National Historical Park will be closed intermittently during the final weeks of March and in April, May and June to protect migrating turtles.

The tour road, which has a three-mile short route and a five-mile long route, will close to allow turtles to move safely through their wetland habitat, according to a March 22 release from Colonial National Historical Park.

Park staff and trained volunteers will routinely monitor turtle activity and additional closures may occur sporadically throughout the year as needed.

The National Park Service will close the road to vehicle traffic at the gate just past the Jamestown Island Visitor Center.

“The 1950’s development of the Jamestown Island tour roads were built in a way that crossed wetlands, becoming a barrier between upland areas and marsh ecosystems,” the release said. “These two habitats are used by five of the eight documented turtle species in the park.”

The turtles live in ponds, wetlands and the forest floor or inside fallen logs. They can crawl or hop distances of a few hundred feet, or more than a one-fourth mile, in their range to feed and breed.  

Closing the road helps reduce the risk of turtles being crushed by car tires.

The Island Loop Drive will remain open to cyclists and pedestrians, but visitors are being told to watch for turtles in the road, which can be crushed by bicycle tires.   

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