Yellowstone plans new trail section in beaver-flooded Heart Lake area

Beavers have flooded trails in the area around Heart Lake and Sheridan Mountain in Yellowstone National Park.

Beavers have flooded trails in the area around Heart Lake and Sheridan Mountain in Yellowstone National Park.

From Staff Reports

A recent influx of beavers in the Heart Lake area of Yellowstone National Park has resulted in flooded trails, requiring the National Park Service to propose creating more than two miles of new trails to avoid newly flooded areas.

Yellowstone National Park is soliciting comments for a proposed project to complete routine trail work on portions of the Heart Lake and Basin Creek Cutoff trails, according to information released by the park’s public affairs office.

Trails around Heart Lake in Yellowstone National Park have been flooded by beaver ponds. (click to enlarge)

The project will focus on the area where the two trails connect to the portion of the Heart Lake Trail that skirts Sheridan Lake.

The main goal of the project will be to avoid areas flooded by recent beaver colonization in the area, park officials said.

This means rerouting the trail away from dammed areas of creeks, and will require the construction of approximately 2.5 miles of new trail. Additionally, crews will install a system of drains and retainers on the trail.

The project would be completed by Park Service staff in partnership with the Montana Conservation Corps. Funding for the project is being considered through the Wyoming Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources Recreational Trails Program.

Beavers also moved into a low-lying area this year along the Moose-Wilson Road in Grand Teton National Park. Over the past several months, a family of beavers built a sizable dam and lodge in a wetlands area along the Moose-Wilson Road, just north of the Death Canyon Road.

The beavers expanded their dam and created a substantial pond that threatened to completely flood the road and cause structural damage. In an effort to lower the water level in the pond and reduce flooding, park employees modified a previously installed flow device that allows for water to pass through the dam.

Written comments on the Heart Lake trail project should be received no later than October 29, 2012, and mailed to Bill Hopkins, Backcountry Trails Office, P.O. Box 168, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, 82190. Emails may be sent to [email protected]

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