Earlier this year, the earthen dam that holds back the water in the park's lake was nearly overwhelmed after the beavers plugged up the lake's overflow drain with tree limbs and mud. Apparently they do not like the sound of the water trickling into the drain and were trying to stop the flow, park officials said.
Greencastle Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk said his workers have labored daily, for the past several months, by wading into the water to remove what the beavers have put in the drain the previous night.
"We're spending two to three hours a day going out there and trying to open that up," Weinschenk said of the drain.
The BannerGraphic went with parks department employee Dave Bault in January when he put on insulated waders and entered the frigid lake to clear out the drain.
Weinschenk said this week that there are a total of six dams in the lake and that the animals have actually begun digging into the dam itself, which is a safety concern.
Park staff have tried everything, outside of using deadly force, to remove the animals from the park, including capturing them, but their attempts have failed. Several months ago, they built a fence around the drain hole, but the beavers have continued to pile debris inside and pack mud around the drain hole.
Feeling like they had no other choice, members of the Greencastle Park Board voted this week to hire a pest removal company to trap the animals and remove them from the property once and, they hope, for all.
Park officials learned that there is no guarantee that the animals will come through the process alive. There is a chance they will be injured in the trapping process, Weinschenk said, and if that happens, they will have to be euthanized.
Even if the animals live, Weinschenk said the Department of Natural Resources requires that they be relocated to another location in the county. But Weinschenk said he did not think there would be any land owners in the county willing to accept a family of beavers and therefore he felt those animals would have to be euthanized as well.
"I think this is our last option," Park Board President Leslie Hanson said.
The park will have to be closed for a week during the trapping process for safety reasons.