Beaver Swimming by Tom LeBlancAt least one beaver lives at Timbercrest… maybe more.  I’ve been lucky enough to see one swimming on Keyser Lake more than once.  Never, however, was I lucky enough to have a camera and good lighting. This photo is from Tom LeBlanc’s Flickr site. Tom lives and works at Allegany State Park – so this is not “our” beaver. (Be sure to click on over to Tom’s photos and his blog! He’s amazing.)

Beaver-pruned TreeYou can see signs of beaver activity all around the camp.  The most dramatic signs are out on the peninsula where all of the trees are stunted.  It’s really quite brilliant:  Beaver cuts the trees down – to be able to reach and eat the new twigs at the ends of the branches, nibble the bark off the trunk and branches, and then use the wood for her lodge.  From the stumps, fresh little twigs grow which are, of course, a perfect food source.  It’s almost like Beaver is pruning her own garden.

If you get off the trail, or canoe close to shore, you will also see channels that Beaver digs to make it easier to get to the food.  Sometime in the winter of 2006-2007, Beaver cut down a rather sizable maple which fell into the Jackman Bay side of the peninsula.  The branches near the surface of the water all cut at about the same level.  There is a channel that leads to the thick trunk, now mostly bare of bark.

Branches Near the Water
Large Maple on Jackman Bay side of Peninsula.

Channel to the Food
Channel from the Lake to the Food

The LodgeThe lodge itself is over on the Beaver Bay side of the peninsula (duh!).  It is nestled right against the bank under a dead tree.  Each year, Beaver seems to add more sticks and mud to the structure.  (If you decide to hike to the lodge, please be respectful.  Don’t stand on the lodge (though it is very strong and could probably support you), and don’t be too loud (Beaver is nocturnal and (usually) sleeps during the day.))

Beaver Bay
The lodge is almost dead center in this photo.

When you visit the Beaver Restaurant (also known as the Peninsula), walk – don’t run – and watch your shins!  The stumps left behind are shin-high and sharp!  Wander over next the shore line, too, and look for cafeteria litter.  You might even take home a beaver-chewed stick as a souvenir!

Beaver Restaurant Beaver Litter in the Lake
Beaver Restaurant, Cafeteria Litter