Beavers busy in Glenwood Canyon |

Beavers busy in Glenwood Canyon

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentTrees on the canyon bike path below No Name Rest Area show damage from beavers despite precautions to protect the trees.

NO NAME, Colorado” Don Poole is doing all that he can to stop beavers from destroying trees along the Glenwood Canyon recreation path.

“We try to save as many trees as we can,” Poole said. “It wasn’t really a problem until late last summer, right before we closed the bike path. This is probably the most action we’ve seen out there since the bike path opened.”

About 14, 20- to 30-foot cottonwood and box elder trees near the No Name and Grizzly Creek rest areas along the path have been chewed down by beavers, according to Poole, a junior maintenance foreman with the Colorado Division of Transportation.

“They aren’t doing it just to be spiteful,” Poole said. “They are doing it because it’s a source of food and they use the trees to build their homes and dams.”

In the “big picture” of things, Poole said the “situation” isn’t as bad as it may seem.

“Mostly they’re hitting smaller trees,” he said. “There have only been very few of the larger trees.”

Colorado Division of Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton says the beavers haven’t done anything that is cause for alarm.

“We are aware of the situation, but it’s not to a point that we’ve been asked to come in and help out,” Hampton said.

If the situation gets worse, Poole said, a trapper could capture and relocate some of the beavers. But Poole says he doubts that it will come to that.

“The beavers were here long before we were,” Poole said. “We have to live with them.”

Poole said that his crew has done pretty much all they can to save the trees by wrapping many along the path with a durable wire mesh that prevents the beavers from chewing down the trees. It’s an inexpensive way to try to solve the problem before it gets worse.

“If we get the tree wrapped they can’t get to them,” Poole said. “They won’t stay where they can’t get food and if they can’t get to the trees they will move on.”

In certain ways, however, the beavers help Poole by taking down some trees in dense areas that need to be “thinned,” he said. Areas such as near Grizzly Creek rest area where Poole has to remove some of the overgrowth.

“We’ve had so many box elders and cottonwoods come up there, we’ve got to trim them up and remove some of the small undergrowth,” Poole said. “The beavers have probably gotten some of the smaller trees out of there already.”

Poole said he understands how some people could see it as a bigger problem than it really is.

“A lot of people dislike them for chewing down the trees, but as far as I’m concerned they are probably the world’s greatest soil conservationists alive,” Poole said.

With the beavers damming along Grizzly Creek and No Name Creek tributaries, it keeps a lot of the sediment from traveling farther downstream, Poole said.

And it also spreads the water out to saturate more area, creating more vegetation for wildlife.

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