The Moffat County Ice Arena sits behind a smaller industrial development, a beaver dam on the north end of Loudy-Simpson pond. Tammy Seela, who oversees Loudy-Simpson Park as county parks and recreation manager, said large numbers of beavers have started to damage the park grounds by cutting down trees that surround the Kiwanis Trail and Yampa River. More than a hundred trees have been felled and lay in the dirt on both sides of Ranney Street.

Photo by Collin Smith

The Moffat County Ice Arena sits behind a smaller industrial development, a beaver dam on the north end of Loudy-Simpson pond. Tammy Seela, who oversees Loudy-Simpson Park as county parks and recreation manager, said large numbers of beavers have started to damage the park grounds by cutting down trees that surround the Kiwanis Trail and Yampa River. More than a hundred trees have been felled and lay in the dirt on both sides of Ranney Street.

Beavers damaging Loudy-Simpson Park

photo

A close-up view of a tree along the Loudy-Simpson Park Kiwanis Trail that has been cut down by beaver. Behind the stump, other downed trees litter the ground.

And the tables turn.

At Loudy-Simpson Park, a place local residents have set aside to preserve some of the area's natural beauty, beavers are building a civilization.

The park's beavers have toppled more than a hundred trees, many still laying on the ground around the Kiwanis Trail and on the other side of Ranney Street, to build homes in the parks' ponds.

Their building spree has reached such levels that it has begun to affect local wildlife.

It's gotten to the point that people are concerned they're destroying the habitat, said Tammy Seela, county parks and recreation manager.

A local bird watcher called and complained that some rare birds that live along the trail seem to have abandoned their nests, she said. Without enough trees to make their home, the populations are dwindling.

"Yeah, they're cute," Seela said as she stood up from preparing one of the park's softball fields for opening night Monday. "They're pretty destructive, too. A lot of people complain about the number of trees that have come down."

The local beaver population started to get out of control last fall.

Local exterminator Chris Jurney, who runs Critters R Us, not associated with the local pet store of the same name, came out and helped manage the animals.

Jurney said he's trapped and killed about 24 beavers since he started about a month ago, but the issue won't be solved easily.

"We're trying to whittle them down, but there's beaver that live in the river about a mile or two downstream and a mile or two upstream," he said. "The river population will keep feeding those ponds."

The damage the beavers have wrecked around the park is unmistakable, Jurney added.

"They've got the trees down so far now, it's going to take a lot of protection to get the forest to re-grow," he said. "Beaver are a great thing in some areas. They can actually create nice ponds for fish and enhance the habitat for wildlife. But, like any animal, too many of them and you have a problem."

Jurney, who also operates an outfitting business in the county, is providing his services to the county for free. He said he takes the animals' pelts as payment.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

Lawrence Herrera 4 years, 11 months ago

So is this a problem that requires the Division of Wildlife or the EPA? Why is the county calling in a guy that keeps the pelts as payment? How many beavers have to die before this guy is paid in full? If I see this article in the wrong light please let me know!

Cheers! Craig Native

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Cole White 4 years, 11 months ago

I saw five beavers dead on the highway yesteday between here and Steamboat. I don't think we have an endangered population in this area.

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