Beavers Chewing Up Trees In Downtown Park

Published: Dec. 10, 2007 at 12:31 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) - Beavers have been busy since November chewing up trees within sight of downtown Cleveland.

They are settling in at Wendy Park on Whiskey Island, a stretch on Lake Erie's shore at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. Their arrival is evidence that nature and wildlife are reclaiming the former dump and refuge for the homeless.

The beavers have felled almost 50 cottonwood trees at the new 20-acre park.

"It just goes to show that if you give it a little room to grow, nature will find its way back," said Carol Thaler, a program officer with the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, which runs the 20-acre park.

Birds and monarch butterflies now congregate at Whiskey Island during migration. Boaters, picnickers and volleyball players populate the lakeside park in the summer.

The wildlife show will continue through winter, although most of the action will likely occur at night and underwater, wildlife officials said.

"In all probability, all the people will see is evidence of the beavers being there," said Jay Reda, a state wildlife officer with the Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Beavers use the soft-wood cottonwoods for food and building material. After knocking them down, they are floating the logs to the docks at the old Coast Guard station.

Thaler says there's little chance the beavers will try to dam the river, which is a major entry point for Cleveland's industries' shipping needs and popular with recreational boaters.

"I think it would take a little more than two or three beavers to do that," she said.