It’s very likely that just by reading the title of this post a theme song to a very famous TV show popped into your head. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The catchy theme music to Leave it to Beaver is now playing in a loop as I write this blog! (Fun Fact: the title ‘Leave it to Beaver’ replaced the suggested title of ‘Wally and the Beaver’ because sponsors believed viewers would think the show was a nature program!) I’ve watched many episodes and quite enjoy the simple humor the show offered. You never knew in what mess Beaver Cleaver would find himself. To tie it into our work here at TLC, I have to say that I very much enjoy comical situations, especially when they’re caused by a beaver.
As you all know, we’re working diligently at Brumley Forest Nature Preserve to build new hiking trails and open up the property to the public by the fall of 2016. A task of this magnitude is no walk in the park and many obstacles will fall into our path. Currently, our Conservation Corps volunteers and our trail contractor are working hard to keep things moving along to meet the opening goal. Dirt, rocks, and roots are flying out of the way every week, leaving behind beautiful and sustainable trails. The project was moving seemingly obstacle free and as planned until we met our very own Beaver Cleaver, face-to-face.
The preserve, once complete, will have nearly 12 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. The bulk of the trail system will be south of Stony Creek, which splits the main section of the property. As luck would have it, our furry friend has decided to build his pond in this area, leaving our trail system down to our bridge under about a foot of water. Luckily, every obstacle has a solution. Ours here will be a construction of a 170-foot long boardwalk to carry hikers and bikers over our very own “Lake Mead” which backs up more and more with every rain behind the Hoover Dam of Brumley Forest.
While beavers are commonly seen as pests to many people (to keep the theme, some people might name them Eddie Haskell!), they’re actually quite beneficial to the ecosystem. We are very lucky to have our own fine example of their work protected here in Orange County. Beaver Cleaver has helped create a unique ecosystem that benefits water quality, increases diversity in a wetland habitat, provides great feeding and resting areas for many waterfowl, and creates important breeding areas for amphibians and fish. It’ll be an impressive construction effort to build the boardwalk required to safely pass through Mr. Cleaver’s backyard. But once it’s done, you’ll be sure to have a front row view of an amazing ecosystem where you might be lucky enough to see the wood ducks take off into the air over the cypress trees growing up in the wetland.
Our mission here at TLC includes protecting natural habitats and connecting people to nature. While this unforeseen obstacle could easily be looked at in a negative fashion, we look at it as a positive. Here, we have an excellent example of how beavers can shape and alter the landscape in view of a publicly accessible trail. The educational aspect of this will be priceless. We can’t wait to let y’all explore the Cleaver’s estate!
This is The Dirt- Tales from the Field. Welcome to 2016 and we hope to see you soon on the trails!
Learn also about our efforts to attract more feathered friends to Brumley Forest Nature Preserve.