The Beavers of Toad River… North to Alaska

Beaver lodge on the Toad River.

The view out the back window of our van at Toad River. The beaver lodge is in the foreground.

By the time we reached Toad River in Northern British Columbia on the Alaska Highway, we were ready to call it a day. Peggy and I had stopped at the lodge on a previous trip for lunch. The restaurant claims to have the largest collection of baseball caps in the world. If you make the trip, be sure to stop by and look up at the 7,000 on the ceiling.

Toar River Lodge in northern BC

The lodge on the Toad River had an RV park and Internet. It turned out to be one of the best Internet connections we had on the Alaska Highway.

Toad River Lodge caps in northern BC.

Some 7000 caps decorate the ceiling of the restaurant at Toad River Lodge.

Kodiak Coast Guard cap at Toad River Lodge.

Since we are on our way to visit our son Tony who flies helicopters for the Coast Guard in Kodiak, I took this photo.

The Toad River Lodge had this toad for sale.

The Toad River Lodge had this toad for sale.

As to how Toad River got its name, the residents claimed it was originally Towed River dating from the days when the Alaska Highway was being built in the 1940s and heavy equipment had to be ferried across the river. Wikipedia claims the name came from big toads living next to the water. Peggy and I heard large toads croaking that night. Maybe it was our imagination.

We backed into our campground and immediately discovered a beaver lodge was built in the pond directly behind our van. Closer inspection revealed busy beavers buzzing about. You’ve undoubtedly heard the comment, “busy as a beaver.” It means really busy and there is a reason for its use. Beavers work hard. There are trees to bite down, lodges and dams to be built, food to gather, territories to protect, and children to raise.

Families are important. Mom and dad mate for life and both parents take care of the kids. Teenagers hang around for a year or two and help babysit. Everyone chips in on dam and lodge building.

Pop very carefully marks the family property. A lot of work has gone into improvements. No trespassing signs consist of small piles of debris dredged up from underwater, deposited on land, and then marked by anal gland secretions. I watched a beaver perform this task when I was backpacking in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming. He backed up to the pile, raised his tail, and let go. Invading beavers that cross over property lines are quickly run out of town. It can get nasty.

Beavers are known for modifying the landscape by building dams across small creeks and then building their homes of lodges in the lakes that are created. No other animal, with the exception of man, has such an impact on the environment. And beavers don’t have to file EIRs, obtain building permits, or worry about zoning laws. Lodges, or homes, consist of one or two rooms with underwater entrances.

Ducks, frogs, and trout love the riparian habitats created by beavers. Farmers are less pleased with their activities and frequently tear down the dams. New ones are promptly built overnight. We watched our busy beavers for an hour or so. They were mainly busy with stuffing their tummies. Have another bite of bark. Yum.

Beaver dam on Toad River in northern British Columbia.

Looking down on the beaver dam at Toad River. A beaver can be seen on the left center of the photo.

Beaver dam on Toad River in northern BC

Looking up at the beaver dam across the pond at the beaver lodge. Still green leaves suggest that the dam is a work in progress.

Beaver lodge on the Toad River in British Columbia.

Another perspective on the beaver lodge.

Beaver eating on Toad River in northern BC

Beaver chomps down on limb. Check out the claws. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Beaver on Toad River in northern BC

The beaver stopped eating to look at me. Is he grinning?

Beaver eating on the Toad River in northern British Columbia.

This guy was working on his dinner. Note the chunk of bark in his mouth. He is holding it with his paw. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Beaver swimming on Toad River in northern BC

I like this shot Peggy took because you can see the beaver’s body under the water. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson)

Beaver and beaver lodge on Toad River

A final photo featuring a beaver, beaver lodge, and mountain. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Next Blog: The sign forest of Watson Lake.


7 thoughts on “The Beavers of Toad River… North to Alaska

  1. Wonderful photos – especially that last one, where the beaver lodge mimics the shape of the mountain. I never see pics of beavers without thinking about the Alaskan sisters who died a few years back after eating fermented beaver tail – apparently beaver tail botulism is pretty common up there, as the paws and tails are considered delicacies.

    I wasn’t sure, but in fact we do have beavers in Texas – mostly to the north and east, in the lake country and piney woods. Well, except for the Buc-ees chain of gas stations. They’re phenomenal – someday I may do a tour of a few and post about them. They’re the only gas stations I’ve ever known that serve as destinations for people. 😉

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