Short Courses-Fall

October 2023 Short Course - RRNW Beaver Restoration Part 2 

Join us as we welcome Colin Thorne and a ‘dream team’ of instructors including (in alphabetical order) Emily Fairfax, Chris Jordan, and Alexa Whipple for our upcoming three-day Short Course hosted by Dawn and Mark Smith at Mt St Helens EcoPark - October 4-6, 2023.

Tour beaver colonies, discuss recolonization & relocation strategies and best practices, and get hands-on experience in designing and installing structures to help beavers and people co-exist. Each day will include some classroom briefings but will be predominantly field-based. We may also organize evening ‘beaver watches’ at selected locations to observe the animals at work. This is independent of the virtual course with Emily Fairfax this spring and you are still welcome to attend if you missed Part 1.

Cost: $850

The course has filled, but given the evolving situation with the federal budget, we realize that federal employees may not be able to attend; this may open up course slots and we recommend that folks interested in join the waitlist, follow the link below.


The running order and activities are not yet firm, but the aim is to deliver really useful, practical knowledge and experience. In broad terms, this will be a 3-day short course and the program will include:

Day 1 – Field assessment of beaver-related habitats and their suitability for key life-stages of salmon, lamprey and other species of interest: We will tour of beaver colonies in the wall-base channel adjacent to the 14 large ELJs built by the Corps in 2010, plus other colonies nearby in Pullen Creek, Hoffstadt Creek and other tributaries to the North Fork Toutle River and discuss what makes habitat suitable for working with and encouraging beaver and how these characteristics interplay with the needs of salmon and lamprey.

Day 2 Morning – Beaver relocation strategies and best practices: We will visit the Cowlitz Tribe beaver holding facility and examine the factors that result in successful and unsuccessful beaver relocation and reintroduction.

Day 2 Afternoon – Humans mimicking beaver: We will do short exercises on how and where dams can promote channel evolution and habitat creation followed up with hands-on experience in building BDAs and PALs.

Day 3 – Coexisting with beaver: We will be using beaver deceivers and pond levelers to manage beaver impacts: hands on experience in designing and installing structures to help beaver and people to co-exist in the same spaces.

Each day will include some classroom briefings, but will be predominantly field-based. We may also
organize ‘beaver watches’ on the evenings of Days 1 and 2, at selected locations to observe the
animals at work.

Lodging Information

Eco Park ( is closed this time of the year, but they are open for our short course.  You may call their direct line at (360) 274-7007 or email Dawn Smith via to book. There are a limited number of camping cabins -which sleep 3-4 folks- as well as RV and tent camping. We know that not everyone embraces the spirit of camping, may have special requirements, or may need wifi accesses in the evenings and there are other lodging options about 30 minutes away in the towns of Silver Lake and Castle Rock.

If you are interested in sharing a cabin, please add your name to this google spreadsheet. There is limited space, so sign up early!

Some other important details about Eco Park and Food Options:

  • The classroom and beaver sites are on the grounds of Eco Park, an area of intense beaver activity along the North Fork of the Toutle River.
  • There is no wifi hotspot at Eco Park, but there is good cell reception at the site (particularly AT&T and other US Cellular providers).
  • Lunches will be provided
  • Dinner is on your own (cooking camp food or nearby restaurants).

Mark and Dawn Smith, the owners of Eco Park, is a really interesting guy to talk to and is very excited about all the work beavers are doing on his property and to host our course. They are fascinated by the beavers on their property and excited to share this special place with us!

For questions contact our Short Course coordinator Mark Wilcox at