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15 April 2012

The Bretzfelder Beavers at Bethlehem, NH

As far as I know, there is not a species of beaver named Bretzfelder!  The title of this report stems from a couple of beavers that I enjoyed watching while doing a short hike in the Bretzfelder Memorial Park, which is located in my hometown of Bethlehem, NH.  Toward the end of this Blog report, I'll provide some information about the Park, but with no further ado, shown below are a series of photos which highlight the beavers, and their habitat.

There are several beaver ponds along the trails at the Bretzfelder Park (see next 3 photos).

The next four photos show the Bretzfelder beavers.  I had absolutely nothing to do with multi-hued shades of water that is seen in many of these photos.  It's just the way it was.  No "photo-shop magic" was involved!

Okay, so much for the photos.  Here is some background about the Bretzfelder Memorial Park.  Most of this information is taken from their website (Click HERE).

The central focus of Bretzfelder Park is a giant White Pine tree, estimated to be more than 200 years old.  In the late 1800s, when Bethlehem was a haven for city folks seeking the clean air of the mountains, the tree became a popular place for visitors, who would wander down the quiet road and relax beneath the tree's branches, enjoying picnics in the quiet beauty of the forest.

Charles Bretzfelder, a New York lawyer, spent many summers in the White Mountains, and in 1920 he purchased the property surrounding the great White Pine tree.  He built a summer cottage there and spent many days walking in the cool mountain air, swimming in the chilly brook, and relaxing in the shade of the pine tree.  When a nearby tree fell and crashed into the giant White Pine, Mr. Bretzfelder hired tree surgeons to patch his tree's wounds, remove dead branches, install retaining bars, and attach a cable to an overhanging branch. The patient emerged unscathed and continues today to soar above its younger neighbors.

So special was the tree to Mr. Bretzfelder that he wanted it to be his final resting place.  Following his death in 1943, Bretzfelder's ashes were scattered around the base of the tree, and his family unveiled a memorial plaque that reads:
"May his wisdom and light forever shine upon this earth."

Bretzfelder's family hired "keepers of the tree" for many years.  But in 1979, Bretzfelder's daughter, Helen, bequeathed the tree and the surrounding 17 acres to the Forest Society as a memorial park.  The Forest Society is now the keeper of the tree and steward of the accompanying 77-acre property. Several trails loop through the Bretzfelder Park, as follows:

Wildlife Habitat Trail: 1.5 miles
Nature Trail: 0.4 miles
Pond Loop Trail: 0.75 miles
XC-Ski Loop Trail: 1.5 miles
Tree ID Trail:  0.12 miles
To sum it up, this was the first hike I did upon our return from a family visit to North Carolina and Delaware.  It was a short trek, but it was ever so sweet to be home again and walk the good earth of northern New Hampshire.   As always, it was fun to visit the family, but there really is no place like home! :)


RetiredInNH said...

Welcome back, John!!

Lots of pleasure to be had from short hikes near home.


Ellen Snyder said...

Terrific beaver photos John. A nice contrast to my dead beaver! It is a lovely time in New England. Ellen

Summerset said...

Welcome back - hope you had a great trip! Love the pictures of the beavers. Beavers have a special place in my heart, because for a good portion of elementary school I had two very large upper front teeth, with no neighboring teeth thus acquiring me a nickname.

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Mohamed! It is indeed so very nice to have a collection of short local hikes that can be done at the spur of the moment without a long drive, or the need to fuss with making sure the backpack is amply filled with supplies.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Ellen,

I must admit that while I was enjoying watching the beavers frolicking, thoughts of your posting ( about the dead beaver popped into my mind!


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset,

We did have a nice trip. Thanks for asking!
Regarding prominent front teeth during the elementary school years, I think perhaps we all can relate to having some physical feature during that time of our lives which earned us some degree of notoriety. :)


Rita Wechter said...

The beaver photos are spectacular. You're lucky to have such a pretty park in your hometown, a place for getting out and taking short hikes.
I especially loved the story of Mr. Bretzfelder. I can relate, as I have thought that there could be no finer final resting place than under the branches of a giant sequoia.
Tim enjoyed this post as well. And, as always, he wonders if the fishing is any good in those beaver ponds!


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita!

It’s terrific to read that both you and Tim enjoyed this posting! Regarding the fishing situation in the ponds, regrettably I can’t provide any useful information. As nice of a place as this park is, I don’t visit it on a frequent basis. I’ve never seen anyone fishing at any of the ponds, but that’s about as far as I can take it.

Thanks for posting your thoughts and comments . . . very much appreciated, as always!


Mike Cherim said...

Awesome beaver photos. Reminds me of an uncharted beaver pond in Pittsburg. I got up close and personal with a huge beaver but had my fishing rod at the time, instead of my camera (I had been switching off). You had good fortune.

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Mike!

Yup, I did have good fortune with being able to get those photos. Guess it’s sort of like fishing. When you’re wandering around in the Great Outdoors, you never know what you’re going to “catch”! :)


Ann said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm on hiking restrictions per the doctor and this was a perfect place to get out and be in nature. Unfortunately the beavers weren't active today, but two snow hares did grace our path.

1HappyHiker said...

Ann, I’m sorry to read that you currently have some hiking restrictions. However, I’m delighted to read that my posting was of some help to you in locating an appropriate place for you to get out and be in nature.

Regarding the beavers, I was shocked that they were so active and photogenic on the day of my visit. I’d never had that happen on any other previous visits to Bretzfelder.

Thank you for posting your comments and thoughts!