Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Trip Planning Forum
      Removing small section of beaver dam     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

WonderMonkey
distinguished member (179)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2018 06:29PM
I'm trying to learn what is right and wrong on trips.

I just watched a video and twice the party removed enough of the dam to get their canoes through. This doesn't seem right to me and I don't think I'd do it as it goes against what I've learned about the outdoors.

What is "the thing to do"?
 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
12/13/2018 07:04PM
I leave them alone, the work those critters put into their masterpieces is nothing short of amazing.
brantlars
distinguished member(566)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2018 07:13PM
I just pull the canoe over them...take a pack out if I have to. But taking out a small part is not going to do any damage to the bevers habitat. They will have it rebuilt right away. Beavers are amazing animals.
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2018 08:07PM
Ridiculous that people take the time and energy to do that when utilizing at least the same energy they could pull canoe over ...or lift over.
Michwall2
distinguished member(665)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2018 09:38PM
There are several places in the BW where travel would be impossible (or darn near impossible) without the beaver dams.

E.g. Duck Lake north of Zenith Lake is a shallow lake and has a large beaver dam on the north end . Cherokee creek has one beaver dam that keeps the west end navigable. Several spots along the Louse River have beaver dams that allow for easier floats. Elton Lake just southwest of Little Sag has a huge beaver dam at its north end. A beaver dam just north of Sawbill Lake on Ada Creek made it possible to skip a long muddy/rocky portage for many years.

Every once and awhile you hear of people out on routes like these that encounter a blown beaver dam and have no other alternative but to slog their way through the thigh deep mud and hope that they can find some floatable water soon.

I know that the beaver sometimes submerge a section of portage, but usually it is not too long a stretch. Sometimes it is even floatable.

Leave the beaver dams alone. I even feel bad when I leave a spot where the dam is breached at the top by pulling over.
mgraber
distinguished member(805)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/13/2018 10:40PM
No, that is definitely illegal. It isn't as though the beaver won't repair it quickly, as they are amazing in that regard, but as soon as you start making excuses for doing things like that you have to ask where it will end.

Also, whenever you lower a dam, you also lower the water level, which means the next group through may be tempted to remove more. This is no different than not getting firewood from a beaver lodge, which is a definite no-no. Best to just follow the rules.
andym
distinguished member(4501)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/14/2018 12:41PM
While a beaver may repair its dam quickly, you are diverting its energy and time for other tasks necessary for survival to that repair. Perhaps beavers have a surplus of time and energy but for some other animals, such as snowy plovers, what seem like small annoyances can drive them into starvation. So, as a general principle I think that it is good to go through the wilderness with minimal disturbance.

And I definitely agree that overall beaver dams make travel easier than harder. Pullovers are just the cost of more paddling and less portaging.
12/14/2018 01:24PM
A beaver dam is a lot stronger than they appear to be. To try and dismantle a dam looks easy but can take an incredible amount of energy. A friend of mine thought he could take apart a dam instead of pulling the canoe over. The dam was relatively small spanning no more than three or four feet. He started pulling on one branch and ended up wrenching his back. That was the end of that!
12/14/2018 01:56PM
Leave 'em. They're well-built, so climbing over them/lifting the canoe over them doesn't impact the dam too much, and the ponds resulting from the dams are frequently better paddling than the stream that remains when the dam is destroyed...

LindenTree
distinguished member(2634)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/14/2018 02:20PM
mjmkjun: "Ridiculous that people take the time and energy to do that when utilizing at least the same energy they could pull canoe over ...or lift over."

My thoughts exactly, except it would take a lot more energy to bust a damn than pull a canoe over it.
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(895)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/14/2018 07:04PM
WonderMonkey: "...I just watched a video and twice the party removed enough of the dam to get their canoes through...."

How about a link to the video? I agree with other comments that it would be more work to dismantle a dam than to step out, pull over, and continue.
mastertangler
distinguished member(6066)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/14/2018 08:39PM
As we all know, not all beaver dams are created equal. Some almost appear as if Mr Beaver decided that this construction was perhaps redundant and a very flimsy effort was made. A few loose limbs strewn across.........this would be the only type of "dam" that I could see would be worth any effort to begin with. Usually with a bit of a running start these faux dams can be pushed through anyways.

I have never dismantled any beaver work whilst canoeing and the thought never even entered my mind......... although trappers routinely create a breach to attract them.
WonderMonkey
distinguished member (179)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/14/2018 09:41PM
bobbernumber3: "WonderMonkey: "...I just watched a video and twice the party removed enough of the dam to get their canoes through...."


How about a link to the video? I agree with other comments that it would be more work to dismantle a dam than to step out, pull over, and continue."


I'd prefer to not cause any strife as it's an active user here.

I'm not going to do any damage to any beaver dam but thought I'd ask if for some reason it's what people do. I couldn't understand that it was so I asked.
mjmkjun
distinguished member(2293)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2018 04:35AM
Ah, yes. A 'sometimes' faithful advocate of LNT principles, eh?
schweady
distinguished member(6774)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
12/15/2018 10:33AM
In late July last summer as we entered at Moose River North, I didn't totally dread crossing the several beaver dams that I knew were ahead, I just knew that it was going to slow the journey somewhat for our aging crew. To my surprise, the 5 or so dams that I expected to have to pull over or work extra hard to push through all had a large enough opening to easily push or float through. The thought crossed my mind that someone prior to us had spent time tearing apart some of the dams. Sure, it sped up our journey but it just seemed wrong.
WonderMonkey
distinguished member (179)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2018 11:02AM
mjmkjun: "Ah, yes. A 'sometimes' faithful advocate of LNT principles, eh?"

I have no idea if they follow that or not.
WIMike
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
12/15/2018 02:21PM
I personally won't do it. The beaver's life is tough enough without me adding to its difficulties.
jhb8426
distinguished member(743)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/15/2018 08:56PM
Why bother? Too much work. Just pull over and be done with it.
12/16/2018 11:26AM
I don’t think it’s that big of deal... but usually in the bwca just the traffic going over them is enough to make it easy. Usually boaters in other areas will make a spot easy to pull through. We adapt, beavers adapt... it’s all good.

I agree, though, that it’s so much easier to just pull over and go. Where I've hunted over the years, I’ve watched beavers move in and, wallah!... a pond that was dry forever. No stream flowing in or anything. Next thing they're gone and it dries up until the next one comes and gives it a go.
nofish
distinguished member(2841)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2018 10:07AM
I can't see a logical reason for removing any part of a beaver dam. Seems like a lot more work than its worth.

I'm not sure it would do any real harm if you do remove a section but I suppose that would depend on how large of a section you remove. If you remove a section large enough to allow the water behind the dam to start flowing again then I suppose there could be some down stream implications that you likely would never be aware of. As for the dam itself I'm sure the beavers will have it repaired fairly quickly. The problem would arise if everyone that came through removed a small section. The beavers would likely spend all of their time repairing the dam or they'd be forced to relocate all together.

Personally when I'm in the BWCA or really in any forest I like to think I'm not on my turf any more. I'm not there to exert my will on the forest by destroying things that I deem to be in my way. I'm here to exist in whatever conditions the forest sees fit to give me. If that means a beaver dam is in my way then I'll navigate up and over it leaving just as it was before I came along.
TominMpls
distinguished member (432)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/18/2018 01:31PM
mgraber: "Also, whenever you lower a dam, you also lower the water level, which means the next group through may be tempted to remove more."
This. Individually, each little dam might seem like a nuisance, but the dams are what cause the area to have lakes, and not just drippy streams that wouldn't support travel well, if at all. Opening a spot in a dam will lower the level of the water behind it until, guess what, the dam is blocking it again. At best, it only eases travel for a few parties before it's in the same place; at worst, it could make the beavers' lives harder and increase the number of places in the BWCA where paddling is muddy and less fun.
myceliaman
distinguished member(928)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
12/26/2018 04:28PM
Hey paddler leave those beavers alone!!
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13311)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
01/12/2019 09:43PM
The right thing to do is leave the beaver dams alone. It is very easy to unload and pull over then reload again.
yogi59weedr
distinguished member(2102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2019 11:26AM
All in all, it's just another stick in the dam.
RetiredDave
distinguished member (236)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2019 06:11PM
yogi59weedr: "All in all, it's just another stick in the dam."

You can't have good footing if you keep dried feet! (sorry)

Dave
LindenTree
distinguished member(2634)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/13/2019 08:11PM
Love the Pink Floyd puns.

There is no current I am receivng
Another dam on the horizon.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------No waters coming through, No Waves-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I---------I have become, comfortably Dumb"
bobbernumber3
distinguished member(895)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2019 06:42AM
Hey! Paddler! Leave them sticks alone.
TomT
distinguished member(5355)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
01/14/2019 09:19AM
I always try to limit damage done and just pull over or go around. I did find out that beaverwood is extremely hard. I found a 3 inch "stick" and used it to hammer a hatchet head and split wood. I put some heavy abuse on that stick and it never came apart. I almost packed it out as a souvenir.



CrookedPaddler1
distinguished member(1402)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/14/2019 10:01AM
As a general rule, I would agree with everyone to just leave the beaver dams alone. Pull your canoe up and over the dam and paddle on. However, there have been times, that I have been tempted to open the dam to increase the water levels downstream of the dam in order to increase water levels if they are too low to float a canoe.

However, I would say that the couple of times that I attempted that many years ago, it really did not make any difference in making the travel smoother.
tumblehome
distinguished member(1452)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
01/15/2019 12:03PM
I perused Minnesota statutes on removing or altering beaver dams. Essentially it is illegal to remove (alter) a beaver dam in the BWCA.

Private land owners and public officials have many legal means of doing so if the beaver or dams are causing land or road damage.

I find beaver dams to be the least intrusive obstacle I encounter whilst traveling by canoe.

Tom

 
Reply    Reply with Quote    Print Top Bottom Previous Next
Trip Planning Sponsor:
Spirit of the Wilderness