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Beavers rule at Golden Gardens

beavers build dam
beavers build dam
Linda Gallaher

A conflict is raging at Seattle's Golden Gardens Park between nature and nature lovers. Beavers are felling nearby trees to build a dam and beaver lodge in the park's ponds.

Golden Gardens hasn't always housed two tree-lined ponds. In 1995, the city "improved" on nature (something some residents feels it does far too often) by digging the ponds, after which volunteers planted trees. Now, many years later, the beavers have brought their own construction project to this patch of human-built nature. And they have been busy, felling as many as 70 of the trees, feasting on the bark and creating their dam and lodge. Most of the trees have slim trunks, but some are impressively large and were clearly gnawed by a crew of beavers, working from opposite sides. Today, the area looks like the aftermath of a huge wind storm---or the labor of beavers. All acts of nature.

Beavers are born to gnaw. Their large front teeth grow constantly and would pierce the beaver's skull if not regularly worn down by all that chewing. City workers have tried various schemes to deter the beavers but with no luck so far.

For more information on the neighbors' reactions and the city's plans, click You can also watch a BBC video of these industrious creatures at

Golden Gardens is located just north of Shilshole Marina on Puget Sound. For more information on the park, see