The Debris at the Bottom of the Pond

A beaver dam on Maunsell Creek in the Petawawa Research Forest has burst and washed out Bypass Road. The partially drained beaver pond reveals evidence of the previous presence of some sort of building or structure. This page presents a gallery of photos of the revealed evidence.

2009 May 08

Spring (and fall) is the ideal time for walking in the bush. It is a time to be cherished and not wasted; paddling can wait until the water warms up and the bugs make walking intolerable. Two of our standard, early-season walks take us along Bypass Road in the Petawawa Research Forest. This year, we discovered that the beaver dam on Maunsell Creek, just upstream of Bypass Road, had burst and had washed out the road.

site of washout of Bypass Road in the Petawawa Research Forest

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Previously a beaver dam essentially filled this gap in the rocks. When the dam let go, the impounded water dropped several feet.

washout of Bypass Road in the Petawawa Research Forest

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The resultant flood washed out Bypass Road.

washout of Bypass Road in the Petawawa Research Forest

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Much of the road ended up in the alders downstream.

revealed bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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The drop in water level was sufficient to reveal much previously hidden pond bottom.

revealed bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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With the water gone, it is clear that this mound was the former location of some sort of structure; we have no idea what. The bare ground indicates pond bottom: the vegetated area was an island.

road revealed on bottom of beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

(photo by Bob: 2009-04-29 - explore

The drained pond revealed an old access road running out to the mound.

In order to avoid embarrassment by misidentifying these pieces of junk -- or rather, "historic artifacts" -- we present most of the following pictures without commentary.

revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed debris on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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revealed vehicle on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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(This certainly appears to the remains of some sort of vehicle.)

revealed vehicle on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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These pictures were taken on three separate visits to the site. On our last visit the water was noticeably higher. Whether this was due to recent rain or to beavers starting dam repairs was not clear, but we suspect it is a combination of both.

beer can on bottom of drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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In addition to old garbage, there was some more modern garbage.

debris near drained beaver pond in the Petawawa Research Forest

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This debris was in the bush beyond the (previous) shore of the pond. It is not clear whether this debris is contemporary with the pond debris or is from some more recent logging operations.

So, what was here? We have no idea. It appears that there was some sort of building or structure located on the shore of Maunsell Creek. The site was dismantled or abandoned -- perhpas bulldozed into a heap -- and was subsequently flooded when the beavers made their pond. While the past has recently reappeared, it will probably soon be reclaimed by the beavers.

Some "Before the Burst" Pictures

Beaver Dam in Petawawa Research Forest

(photo by Bob: 2008-04-25 - map - explore

This photo, from April 2008, shows the beaver dam with a full head of water behind it.

A beaver pond on Maunsell Creek in the Petawawa Research Forest

(photo by Bob: 2006-08-22 - explore

This photo was taken in late August 2006. The island of goldenrod is the mound, around which much of the debris was found. The old vehicle lies somewhere underwater in the foreground.

The light-coloured road near the bottom is Bypass Road. The old road is visible left of centre looping in from the curve in Bypass Road to the pond, and the large, light-coloured island in the pond is the mound in the photos above. The beaver dam is just north of Bypass Road, at the southernmost reach of the pond. Maunsell Creek flows through a culvert under Bypass Road, but that is not particularly evident in this view, although you can see the creek continuing farther south. The clear cut strip running north-south to the east of the pond is the route of a power line.

Notes

Last summer, Clouthier Road in the Petawawa Research Forest was washed out, see: Washout: The Destructive Power of a Burst Beaver Dam. Somewhat similarly, this spring, the Bronson Road was also washed out, see: Washout and A Closer Look.