Spurr beaver dam failure costly, inconvenient

WALL OF WATER–A cascade of water estimated 10 feet tall washed out a culvert and cut a deep gorge through Stagecoach Road in Spurr Township on July 18. Weyerhaeuser is letting property owners use a logging road for access. Road crew is rebuilding the road. Photo by Amber Kamarainen.

by Barry Drue
Beavers wreaked havoc that will prove a major headache and expense. A beaver dam failed and a wall of water cut a gorge through Stagecoach Road in Spurr Township. The dam failure took place around 12:30 a.m. on July 18, 2017. The Baraga County Road Commission is working to restore the culvert and road that was washed out. “There was no big storm event,” Road Engineer Doug Mills said. “When it went, it went dramatically. It was a high dam. There was about a 10-foot high wall of water.” “We took delivery on a 72- inch culvert last Friday. It’s designed for a 100-year storm event. But when a beaver dam breaks, all bets are off,” Mills said. Stagecoach Road is a dead-end road serving 17 property owners. The Road Commission was allowed by forest landowner Weyerhaeuser to make some improvements on an existing logging road that is being used for temporary access by residents and property owners. “Thanks to Weyerhaeuser— and they are making sources for materials available close by. If we had to haul the backfill a long distance that would get very expensive,” Mills added. “We’re working on it. We have a lot of prep work to do. We’ll get the road back to the way it was and open to traffic as soon as possible.” To read more, subscribe to the L’Anse Sentinel online, or buy a print copy at our local retailers.