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Park Board continues discussion of beavers on Beaver Creek Park


February 4, 2020

Hill County Park Board met Monday and discussed beaver management options and beaver trapping reports, as well as group reports.

Fran Buell of Gildford provided a beaver damage control report for the board.

“The trappers are now going to concentrate on new areas where they feel, through observation of current beaver activities — i.e. lodge building, dam building, cut down trees and scent mounds — indicate the need to remove the beaveer before more extensive damage is done,” a report presented by Buell said.

Buell said that in December and January only three beavers were removed due to the weather, lack of ice and other factors, such as previous beaver removal in the area, 2-year-old beavers leaving the colony and human presence, are more than likely the reason for the low number.

She added that the total number of beavers that have been removed by the Montana Trappers Association since the trapping started in October is 25.

The board also discussed possible alternative beaver management options with park board member Renelle Braaten.

She said she has been in contact with the Humane Society of the United States Wildlife Response and Policy Senior Adviser Dave Pauli and provided a report that said he is working with some foundations and non-profits to come up with some plans to teach people in the community more about beavers.

His report said he has reached out to two beaver experts in Montana because they were excited to learn about opportunities to potentially have a co-existence demonstration project in Montana and the opportunity to have a regional workshop here as well. 

“He’s pretty excited about it, and I’m pretty excited about it,” Braaten said. “I think it would be excellent for our park not only to do some things out there that would be good for the park, but also I know (board chair Steve Mariani) said at a meeting once it could be a viewing area and that’s a possibility is what it sounded like to me.”

Mariani was not at Monday’s meeting.

Pauli said groups like the Defenders of Wildlife and National Resources Defense Council, which also have employed the two beaver expert biologists, had quickly signed on to potentially provide a training conference in Havre for any state, federal, non-governmental organization and private parties that want to learn more about beavers.

Bratten added that nothing is written in stone, but she wanted to provide an update.

Hill County Park Board member Ursula Brese said Friends of Beaver Creek will be having its first meeting in April at a to-be-determined date.

“We are now a foundation board, not a regular board and we only meet twice a year,” she said. “We are looking for some board members to continue our work for the park. As you know, our mission statement is ‘The Friends of Beaver Creek foster recreation, preservation of the park for generations to come.’”

She added that if more people don’t step in to help and the foundation board loses its  501 (c) (3), the park would lose about $4,000 to $5,000 a year provided by Friends of Beaver Creek Park.

Havre Trails also completed a brochure for hiking trails that people can use in Beaver Creek Park such as Mount Otis Trail, Rotary Canyon Loop Trail and Bear Paw Nature Trail, Breese said, adding that the brochures will be distributed by the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce and local hotels.

Beaver Creek Park Superintendent Chad Edgar said no progress has been made on the Folf Course.

“We are just looking for a youth group that would be interested in taking on the task,” he said.

He said conditions on the park have been extremely warm for January and that usage on the park has been primarily by ice fishermen.

The next park board meeting is Monday, March 2, at the Timmons Room in the Hill County Courthouse. The deadline to submit items for the agenda for the next meeting is noon Feb. 21.


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