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Local Professor Writes Guide to Snake Road | Archive

ByKeith M. Jones

Mar 15, 2021

UNION CO., IL (WSIL) – Warm temperatures mean a popular wildlife destination is about to start crawling with snakes.

“This is an amazing opportunity right in our backyard,” says Joshua Vossler, associate professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Snake Road in the LaRue Pine Hills Natural Research Area is officially closed to vehicular traffic for the biannual snake migration.

“Closures, I can’t stress enough how vulnerable snakes are, are especially larger snakes like the native rattlesnake,” says Vossler.

Although the road is closed to vehicles, foot traffic is welcome and Vossler has everything you need to fully enjoy the abundance of wildlife.

“The big inspiration for the book was that when I first came across Snake Road, I didn’t know what I was looking at,” says Vossler.

Vossler has spent the last 4 years writing his own guide to help people enjoy what Snake Road has to offer. “It just occurred to me, boy, there’s a lot of interest in Snake Road. There’s a big gap. People want to know more about Snake Road and the animals that live there, but the most of the existing material is aimed at professional herpetologists at the doctoral level.”

According to the Forest Service, 35 different species of snakes live in the research area.

“I wanted people to be able to look at what they see and have a way to get a good sense of what it’s like. How to learn more about it and how to enjoy the area safely, comfortably and have the best possible experience they can have,” says Vossler.

Snake Road will remain closed until May 15 and if you want to explore the area, Vossler’s guide is available for purchase here. For rules and regulations when exploring Snake Road, click here.