Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - 63

trunk into manageable pieces before hauling them off to their dams. Researchers
report that 62 percent of the trees beavers
cut fall in the direction of their dam. They
peel their lodge or dam materials and eat
the inner bark before weaving them into
their constructions.
Their dams can be as narrow as a
couple feet to as wide as half a mile. A
family unit of between four and 10 consisting of mating adults, newborn kits, and
yearlings can build and maintain more
than 12 dams, converting a narrow stream
into a broad chain of ponds. They also
construct lodges and bank dens, where
they sleep, raise kits and winter. Since
they don't hibernate, the adults spend the
winter dragging sticks and roots from their
submerged larder to feed their family.
While we didn't see any beavers during
our field trip, Vreeland said the agency
hopes to develop higher-quality beaver
habitat along Canoe Creek by planting
aspens.
There always have been beavers in
this valley, although trees were cut as
early as 1807, then into the 1870s, to
fuel the Canoe and Etna iron furnaces.
A lumber railroad operated in the upper
Canoe Creek watershed, and mining
railroads along the southern ridge.
At least one lumber company early
in the 20th century "turned (the valley)
from a splendid forest to a desert waste,"
according to outdoor writer and hunter,
Harry P. Hays, who frequented the valley
then. He also visited Margaret Aurandt,
whose grandfather, John Hancuff, was
the first settler in the valley early in the
19th century.
Aurandt was born in 1866 and lived
in the valley most of her life, the last 17
years - from 1912 to 1929 - alone and
OCTOBER 2020

on her own, "her friends the trees, birds,
flowers, animals, and other things of the
forest. Her home stood at the edge of a
magnificent stand of white pine trees,
where the mid-day sun could only send
scattered shafts of gold." The logging
"was a great blow to the lonely woman,
who grieved deeply, and was bereft of
much of the former joy of her woodland
life," Hays wrote.
One hundred years have passed since
the logging occurred. I think Aurandt
would be pleased to learn of the establishment of the Canoe Creek Old Forest
Unit, which is expected to benefit a wide
variety of birds, such as northern goshawks, wild turkeys and winter wrens, as
well as mammals: fishers, silver-haired
bats, white-tailed deer, black bears, gray
and southern flying squirrels.
Furthermore, according to the comprehensive management plan for this
old forest, officials want to "promote
late-successional forest conditions on
higher quality soils." Such forests "are
rare because these historically were converted to agricultural land uses or subject
to multiple timber harvests." For this
reason, large parts of the old forest are on
good growing sites for both hardwoods
and conifers. The plan also calls for providing an extensive area of unfragmented
forest, although it now is bisected by a
game-lands road and a 100-meter-wide
electric right-of-way corridor.
Still, the old forest is unique in southcentral Pennsylvania, and Vreeland
firmly believes it will help foster and
conserve wildlife diversity, because the
forest, largely left to nature's processes,
on an array of soil types, including
productive ones, will produce different
structural and compositional characteristics than even-aged forest on poorer
soils.
63



Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020

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Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - October 2020 - Cover4
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