Judith Eiseman: Hopes rail trail solution won’t harm beavers

  • In this Sept. 12, 2014, photo, a tagged 50-pound male beaver nicknamed “Quincy” swims in a water hole near Ellensburg, Wash., after he and his family were relocated by a team from the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group. AP photo

Published: 4/15/2019 7:45:18 PM

As an eager and appreciative user of the Norwottuck Rail Trail, I read with some dismay that the trail and the beavers are again at risk. (“Beavers undermining Norwottuck Rail Trail,” April 10)

Because I cut my environmental activist teeth on wetlands and wildlife habitat protection, I hope that both human and wildlife health and safety are taken into serious account as solutions are sought to prevent collapse or at least shore things up.

Please understand: I’ll be out on that bike trail this week and I love it, but I love the beavers, too.

I agree with a former member of the Norwottuck Rail Trail Advisory Committee quoted in the article that the bike trail should be “functional and safe” and trust that DCR and folks on the Rail Trail Advisory Committee will consider bridging the area or perhaps even rerouting the trail, rather than trapping, moving or killing the beavers who clearly are just doing what beavers do.

That is, beavers create and enlarge wetlands that help water retention, filtration and purification. Besides, they are darned interesting to observe along this linear parkway. If the beavers use the wet dirt to build dams every year, starting with that understanding rather than with bikers desires, would be a novel approach.

I know that bridging or other methods of maintaining the bike trail could be expensive, but isn’t it time that people stop thinking of themselves as outside of nature, rather than a part of it? Working with the natural features of the landscape and with the other inhabitants who share this planet doesn’t have to be a constant battle in which humans force their will upon world.

Plenty of evidence exists to demonstrate that our attempts to control everything to our own benefit and preference doesn’t work so well in the longer run. Rather than continue to have to repair, let’s rethink the problem and not continue to repeat the same errors — as costly, perhaps, as finding another way to address the issue.

Judith Eiseman


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