Over the past few weeks, beavers in the Warner Park lagoon have been a topic of debate. The beavers’ dams led to concerns about potential flood risks on the north side. So, park officials made an effort to eliminate the animals using underwater traps. Most community members were not aware of the effort until one woman was curious enough to start asking questions.
Sara Patzold, a resident of the Warner Park area and former Madison police detective, was walking her dog when she eyed a truck near the park. The license plate read “ITRAP,” and Patzold was instantly wary. After talking to the man, she learned he was contracted to set traps for the beavers. Petzold, a little unnerved about the lack of communication between park administration and residents about the decision, took to social media. It wasn’t long before other neighborhood residents voiced concern.
Some even took matters into their own hands and began removing the traps from the lagoon. Citizen interference became a serious concern for Madison’s parks superintendent Eric Knepp, who said the theft of the traps solidified their removal date for safety reasons. He went on to explain that park policy is set by park commissioners and the Common Council. He looks forward to conversations with those groups about this topic and public engagement. He also iterated his pride in the vast beaver population and that this sort of trapping is not commonplace.
Last week, Dylan Brogen, the Isthmus reporter that brought this issue to light, discussed his article and its findings with WORT Producer Molly Stentz.