If you would like to visit some wild beaver dams in the Portland / Beaverton area, read on! This is something free you can do outdoors with your family.
The Beaverton Historical Society told me exactly where to look. They were very helpful.
In case there is any confusion about it, these are wild beaver dams. I simply drove by, saw the dams and took some photos because I'm fascinated by how uniquely-adapted and industrious beavers are.
As a newcomer, I'm amazed how natural it feels for the forest and waterways to exist amid the housing in Beaverton.
Lowami Hart Woods Beaver Dam
[caption id="attachment_211" align="alignnone" width="580" caption="Beaver Damn at Lowami Hart Woods"][/caption]
If you are taking kids here, be careful because you'll have to park a block or two away and walk next to the street on a sidewalk. The damn is visible looking south from a small bridge on SW Davis Rd between SW 153rd Ave and SW Nehalem Ln. See the map.
The beaver damn is sandwiched between two private homes. Please don't bother the families in these homes. They seem to be living in peaceful co-existence with the beavers. What more can we ask?
If you are looking for some hiking in the area, the Lowami Hart Woods is a 28 acre park with beautiful trails that cross over the creek that this beaver dam is holding back. One entrance is a short drive south (SW Hart Rd and SW 149th Ave) and there is room for 4 parked cars there.
Windmill Park Beaver Dam
[caption id="attachment_216" align="alignnone" width="580" caption="Beaver Damn at Windmill Park"][/caption]
You can see this dam so close-up that you can make out the glistening mud the beaver has packed on top. There is a small place to park one car on the side of the road, but it's a bus stop (SW 121st and Merestone). Be careful with passing traffic. It's on SW 121st Ave North of SW Katerine. See the map.
It's very tempting to walk up close to the damn to inspect it. You can see the rocks, twigs, mud, branches used in the damn. There is nothing to stop you from getting close.
If you follow the bushes north, you'll find some berries if they are in season. I ate just one because I don't like eating berries next to busy roadways.
One bus stop to the south there is a windmill on the right. It seems to be a public windmill. Although I don't think it's functioning, you can walk up to it and touch it which I think kids appreciate. I'd be curious to learn more about it.
If you happen to have a subscription to Netflix, you can watch a great short IMAX film on Beavers on your PC via Netflix Instant which comes with your membership. It has fantastic footage and unexpected real beaver sounds that are sure to get any kid excited.
One last thing: you may want to warn your kids that they are not likely to see a real beaver even though I think they live inside the damn they have built. I'm told they come out around sunrise and sunset, but I've never seen one.