Story last updated at 6:37 p.m. Thursday, December 26, 2002

Juneau beavers in hot water
The U.S. Forest Service said last week that it will likely have to kill a colony of beavers in the Dredge Lakes area of Juneau. The beavers are accused of causing damage to trails and fish runs with their dams.

But to some Juneau residents, the beavers have as much of a right to the area as the trail-walkers and fishermen.

"It's fun to watch some of the work they're doing, even if it's going to flood the trail you're walking on," neighborhood resident Betty Seguin said.

This work, according to state Department of Fish and Game officials, causes significant damage to popular fishing areas.

They have spent a few hundred hours a year in recent years punching holes in the beaver dams and unclogging culverts.

"If a beaver moves into that area and does things that impact the trails and the fisheries management of that area, the beavers will be removed," said fish and wildlife biologist Don Martin.

But Juneau resident Margaret Walmer doesn't like the Forest Service's hands-on approach.

"I just don't like meddling in nature. I really do think we should let nature take its course and not interfere," she said. "They shouldn't have to die because somebody's trail got in the way or somebody's fish got in the way."

-- Juneau Empire