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Beaver Fever

Rob Karz has been driving past the beaver trap signs for three years. Finally unable to stand the thought of the animals being killed any longer, he has started a campaign to stop the lethal trapping of beavers in the Park City and Synderville Basin area, devoting hours to finding out how the beavers and neighbors can live in peace.

Lat year, when Karz looked into the beaver trappings, he found that the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources only had resources in place for lethal trapping. In June of 2010, the Utah Beaver Management plan came out, allowing for live trapping and relocation as a means of dealing with beavers who were threatening property. But, so far, all the traps in the Park City area continue to be lethal. Karz thinks that lethal trapping is too desperate of a measure for a keystone species like the beaver and there are many other solutions that should be tried before killing them.

"There is a company that makes devices which can make it so ponds are unsuitable for beavers, they also have wire cages you can put around trees and gritty paint, both of which deter beavers from chewing down trees on people’s property," said Karz.

The lethal beaver traps that have been set around the McLeod Creek Trail subdivision, Crestview, Ridgeview and Old Ranch Road are a response to what some residents call a major problem. One Silver Spring resident whose property abuts McLeod Creek complained, of being so tormented by the beavers that he finally got a permit to trap them himself.

"I am concerned mostly with the fact that they are being lethally trapped," said Karz. "I understand the city’s position and their need to protect private property however I think that it’s worth trying some of the methods proposed and try a non-lethal alternative."

According to Craig Clyde, Wildlife Program Manager for the Central Region with the Utah Department of Wildlife, both killing and relocation are only temporary fixes since beavers reproduce and spread out quickly. "Once one family is moved from a location, another will move in. If there is a stream, sooner or later there will be beavers," said Clyde. "Beavers do lots of good things, but there are a lot of them and lethally trapping them helps control the population."

Live trapping beavers and relocating them is not a suitable solution according to Clyde, it increases the spread of beavers and makes them someone else’s problem.

Karz would like to try a different approach. "I don’t know if the alternative systems will work, but I think it’s worth the effort to try to provide a habitat for the beaver to live and at the same time controlling the size and the depth of the pond to protect the infrastructure. It’s a win-win then.

"I would rather beaver habitat, provided my house wasn’t flooding. I think it would be a novelty, it would be interesting to watch. Instead of looking at a mudflat because dams and lodges were removed, I think that is far more unsightly than having a beaver pond," said Karz.


View Lethal beaver traps set through Park City and the Basin in a larger map


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