A clear-cutting frenzy by our fuzzy neighbours

A clear-cutting frenzy by our fuzzy neighbours
Four beavers may decorate the Hudson’s Bay Coat or Arms. And this rodent may be the official emblem of Canada.
The beaver certainly has had a storied past in Canada. Europeans chased it across Canada and, in so doing, they opened up much of the country.
We have the saying, “Busy as a beaver.” DeHavilland named a bush plane the “Beaver” for its reliability and dependability. We compliment people for being industrious like a beaver.
And we also curse the beaver—for the dams and flooding it causes.
The beaver went from six million to almost elimination, but today it has returned to its former strength. And last fall, the beavers in our neighborhood on the lake went wild.
It was probably kits and parents with a second litter on the way that went into a clear-cutting frenzy.
Beavers have been around the island for decades, and we lost the occasional birch to them. In most cases, though, the birch was small.
Last fall they started with the birch, and when all were felled within 150 feet of shore, they turned to the black ash. In all my life, I had never seen beaver go after ash.
They began taking out all the small trees that were less than five inches in diameter. Once those were removed, they moved up and managed to drop and girdle trees that were up to 16 inches in diameter.
The good news for us is that the family has been removed, but they have left us with a huge clean up. That began on the weekend.
The beaver is famous for its dams and houses. This family did build a substantial home. But they are not always successful in dropping trees. One tree hangs out over the bay—well above the water.
Another is hung up in the limbs of a cedar. Still others are criss-crossed over each other on the ground.
The temperature on the weekend was perfect for cleaning up the mess. We have several years of firewood on the ground. On Saturday, we dodged downpours to cut and split a lot of wood. We put a dent in the clean-up.
Over the summer we will continue to clean up. And we will have to replant many trees.
The area seems barren and empty today.

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