Wetland Wonders  LbNA # 45170

OwnerWebelos Pack 2    
Placed DateDec 20 2008
LocationPenfield, PA
Found By Monarch Lady
Last Found Sep 10 2011
Hike Distance?

Wetland Wonders

The HUGE forests in the New World seemed inexhaustible and Pennsylvania contained some of the finest. Initially, lumbermen cut the trees and floated them down the streams and into rivers where large square rafts were built to float onto the mills. The timbering operation in the area we now call Parker Dam began around 1870 when William Parker began to splash timber down Laurel Run.

By 1909, the logging railroad tracks were laid into the Moose, Laurel and Little Laurel Run hollows to transport timber for the Goodyear Lumbering Company, which was operating in the Medix Run area. The tracks were pulled out in 1911 and the remains of these railroad grades can still be seen on the Beaver Dam Trail. Today, because of conservation, stewardship and proper land management, this land, which was stripped bare, now thrives- creating habitats for Pennsylvania’s wonderful wildlife. Keep your eyes open…

One of those wonderful species of wildlife is the beaver. Beavers are awesome! Did you know they have soft fur and a broad flat tail? And, they have interesting feet. Their feet are adapted to swimming or walking- isn’t that amazing?! They build dams across streams. Instead of a saw, beavers have very large, sharp teeth to cut down trees. They actually eat the leaves and bark! Note: Beavers are strict vegetarians. After they cut the tree down, beavers pile the logs across the creek. Next, they use their paws, like hands; to pat down mud in between the logs to build their dams. The dam that the beavers build stops the water, making a pond. Beavers create ponds to flood an area where they can be safe- they would much rather swim than have to travel across land. Believe it or not, beavers live in the lodge they built! Note: Beavers usually build a lodge somewhere in the pond where they live, or in some cases the lodge goes into the stream/riverbank.

Parking is available across from the CCC museum along the spillway.

Your journey starts at the driveway of Cabin 7. Take the path past the cabins into the pines towards the beaver meadow. Follow the pathway covered in pine needles until you reach a fallen tree. This tree is pointing towards an apple tree along the tree line overlooking the beaver meadow. Look carefully across the meadow, there is evidence of a beaver family living in the area. Dead trees dot the meadow due to past flooding of the water by the beavers.

Facing the meadow, place your back against the apple tree, turn 90 degrees to the right. With your back against the apple tree, take a compass reading of 225 degrees. Take 50 adult paces (2 steps per pace) straight to a large hemlock along the tree line. The tree has a hole at its base that passes to the other side of the trunk. The letterbox you seek is not hidden here.

From the hemlock, take 36 additional paces (in the same direction) straight to a leaning tree, almost chewed into 2 pieces at its base by the inhabitants of the area. You will be standing in a grove of trees slowing being felled and dragged into the waters by the beavers to continue the damming process. Mud Run is the small, winding stream next to the tree line. Trees are not only chewed once to lower them to the ground, but again and again creating small log sized pieces so the beavers can drag them more easily along the ground into the water.

Turning your back to the meadow, stand in front of the leaning tree/stump. Take 15 paces at a heading of 310 degrees. There will be a single large, rotting tree stump. Your letterbox finds it home there away from the worries of being gnawed on by these wetland engineers.

Beware of the occasional snake and/or deer tick. Insect repellant is highly recommended during the summer months. It is also recommended to bring drinking water for the trip.

This letterbox location has been approved by the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR)
until 12/18/11.