MUSKOKA LIFE — Most would say Muskoka was crafted by ancient geologic activity and, more recently, by the hand of man. However, there’s another actor that continues to shape our landscape for the better: the humble beaver.
Despite being a Canadian icon and a symbol of industriousness, many people view the beaver as a nuisance animal, blaming them for flooding and for damaging property through the felling of trees. Any derision towards the beaver, which generally is misplaced and based more upon myth than reality, masks the absolutely vital role beavers plays in creating a healthy environment – especially in areas with lots of wilderness and wildlife, like Muskoka.
Beavers spend much of their life building and maintaining dams that hold back the water and create the ponds in which they live. What most people fail to realize is that the beaver is not the only one to benefit from the habitat it creates.
“The beaver is the largest rodent in North America and it has been commonly known as ‘nature’s-engineers’ because of what they do for the environment,” explains Muskoka naturalist Robin Tapley. “A beaver is the only other mammal besides man that alters its environment to suit its living requirements. However, in the case of the beaver, its contribution has a positive impact on the local…
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