A chunk of the Down East Sunrise Trail in Washington County will be repaired after beaver blocked a culvert. Credit: Courtesy of Down East Sunrise Trail

A chunk of a popular walking trail that stretches through parts of Hancock and Washington counties washed out in Columbia Falls on Wednesday but should be repaired Thursday.

The washout was caused by heavy recent rains and beavers who made a lodge that blocked the water flow to a culvert under the Down East Sunrise Trail at mile 45, immediately adjacent to a tributary about ¼ mile south of Indian River Stream, said Charles Corliss, a trail manager with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

The water flow was powerful enough to take out about 7 feet of the length and depth of the trail and the culvert beneath it. Hikers who made it over the culvert heading in one direction reported the washout, which likely happened a little after 8 a.m., Corliss said.

“When they came back by, they couldn’t get back across it,” Corliss said.

“Right now the beavers are so active they are plugging up everything they can,” he said. “This culvert was actually scheduled to be unplugged later this week.”

A contractor will begin replacing the culvert sometime Thursday, hopefully finishing the job that day. Anyone walking the trail will be detoured around the work until the repair job is finished, Corliss said. The beaver will be trapped and relocated, if need be.

The 87-mile trail runs from Ellsworth to Pembroke.