Walk along Western Colorado waterways, and you'll encounter a number of chewed up and fallen trees surrounding the banks. Is Grand Junction experiencing a beaver invasion, or is our existing beaver population suffering a wicked case of the munchies?

It goes without saying that beavers are nothing new to the area. It does seem, though, they are making their presence known a little more than normal.

Watson Island next to the Colorado River is home to several fallen trees. The same can be said for the Audubon Trail on the way to the Redlands.

I've walked both of these trails hundreds of times over the years, and don't recall ever seeing a beaver-chewed tree. Why now?

Following a telephone conversation with Mike Porras with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, it seems there is no evidence suggesting an increase in the local beaver population, they simply have a case of the munchies.

Did the Western Colorado beaver population suddenly stumble across somebody's stash along the river? Did someone jettison their bag while taking a walk down the Audubon Trail? Is somebody growing along the river? Perhaps the beavers living west of Grand Junction are just rolling through town while making a mass migration to Rifle to visit one of the pot shops.

How are we going to combat this? I have nothing against beavers, but I don't want to see the trees along the river destroyed either. Perhaps we can set up some "Cheesy-Poof" decoys along the river. Would the beavers be distracted by strategically placed bags of Doritos?

While the damage is by no means catastrophic, it is a bit unusual. In reality, there is a considerable amount of reclamation going on in these areas anyway. The trees would have probably been cut down before long. So long as the beavers keep their off-duty habits on a recreational level, we should be safe.

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