I said good morning!
Much better. Welcome to the Introduction to Northern Michigan’s Aquatic Mammals. I’m Ranger Steve and I’ll be leading you through this marvelous journey today. First a few rules. No matter how cute, cuddly, and friendly the wildlife may appear, we are not to pet or touch them in anyway. That’s their protection as much as yours. To be honest, as a duly licensed and recognized forest ranger, it’s for their protection. If you want someone to care about your safety find a police officer. I’m trained to protect the wildlife.
The next rule is do not feed the wildlife. It’s alright that you may have brought your granola bars, fruit by the foot, and go-gurt. But that’s human food and only disrupts the delicate diets of our woodland friends. To be honest, that isn’t really very good for you humans either. You’re just buying into the marketing hype.
That done, let’s walk down this way and you’ll see a genuine beaver dam. Beavers will cut down trees and stack them to flood a stream and make a calm shallow pond. A common misconception is that beavers live in the dams. The reality is they live in lodges. Though I must admit that I think they just sort of spend the day in the lodges. I think that the North American Beaver is much more sophisticated than we give them credit for. They spend their days in the lodges and at night, (whispering) they sneak into the unoccupied cabins and hotel rooms here in the park and live the life of luxury.
What’s that? You scoff at the accommodations of our national park? Well let me begin by pointing out that this is a National Park. Not skyscraper on Sax Fifth Avenue. You’re lucky the accommodations aren’t a canvas tarp and a bed of pine needles. I can’t believe that you have the audacity to criticize the luxurious accommodations that Ranger Pete, Ranger Mary, and myself provide for you here. Our wilderness retreat lodge (note the word lodge in that naming convention) is recognized in travel journals world wide. But I digress. Forgive me, I’ve let my pride get in the way of my educational duties. (big sigh.)
Regardless of they young lady’s opinion of our accommodations, I’d like to point out that she didn’t laugh, scoff, or guffaw at the notion that the beavers spend their nights in the unoccupied rooms. She knows. Yes deep in that urbanized brain of hers; rooted in the DNA of her more primitive ancestors, she knows that the North American Beaver is a creature of comfort. It longs and pines for spending its nights in a memory foam bed. A down comforter wrapped about it’s flat tail to keep it warm. (aside) It’s a little known fact that beavers lose 80% of their body heat through their tails. (end aside). They brush their teeth with the designer tooth paste each of our rooms is stocked with every morning.
Why do we permit them? I’m not certain I follow.
Oh! Why do we allow them to stay in the rooms. Well first off none of you citified humans are there, so we might as well allow it. Secondly, you know the raw wood, knotty pine beds and furniture that sells for hundreds of dollars at the local flea and antique markets? Those aren’t crafted by little children in a Chinese sweat shop. Heavens no. The beavers make them while enjoying our otherwise unoccupied suites. If we didn’t sell them not only would the rooms have so much furniture you couldn’t move around, we’d have to triple our nightly rates. Your low nightly lodging (there’s that word again) rate is subsidized by the North American Beaver’s love to hand craft, nay, mouth craft, quality and ascetic rustic knotty pine furniture.
Good heavens. Look it there. If you will all look off to your left, you will see a red tailed hawk feasting on a rabbit that it has marinated in wild onion and prairie sage reduction. It is the master chef of our wilderness preserve.