Vienna residents who walk through Northside Park may have noticed some gnawed trees along Piney Branch this fall. Yes, it was the handiwork of at least one beaver who is hoping to stake a claim where Piney Branch runs parallel to the W&OD Trail.
NEVCA member and wildlife photographer Bob Meyers was able to capture the Piney Branch beaver recently when walking along the trail with his camera. Beavers are more active at night, but Bob was able to capture this little guy and shared some shots with us.
Known as “Nature Engineers,” beavers are considered a keystone species according to the Fairfax County Park Authority. My wife and I saw a beaver paddling up Piney Branch about 15 years ago from the W&OD Trail just past the Clarkes Crossing soccer fields, so I know how Bob must have been super excited to see this little beaver.
Beavers are North America’s largest rodents and are typically no threat to humans or pets. Although cute, you must remember that this is a wild animal and it should not be approached.
Northside Park is a 26 acre undeveloped park with a few walking trails. There is a paved trail from an access point at the top of Glyndon Street NE next to the Town of Vienna property yard. The paved trail connects to the W&OD Trail across an aluminum bridge at the town line. Parking is limited.
It is worth noting that the W&OD Trail will undergo repair work in early 2016. Piney Branch has caused extensive erosion and all trail traffic will be temporarily routed along the horse trail which runs parallel on the opposite side. Projections are for a March 2016 start date.