To the editor:
I was at home living where Jim Bridger had trapped beaver and the Shoshone had camped next to the river. It was an idyllic place for mink and foxes — hence a farmer founded the property and raised fur bearing animals until the 1940s.
When we moved to Thrushwood in 1963, we often saw foxes and heard them barking on the hillside along our home. The River Heights canal wandered through our backyard so animals enjoyed a cool drink of water on hot summer nights.
In late September of ‘63, I spent several afternoons fishing on the river. One evening I was casting flies just above the river bridge above 1st Dam on Highway 89. Fishing was good and I was intensely watching flies being caught by the brown trout when I stepped off the muddy bank. I sunk about two feet into the water — next to the bank.
I jostled around trying to get my balance, and when I caught my balance, I noticed a dark image four or feet under the water — it caught my attention. I waited until the water cleared and saw what appeared to be a beaver. There were very few beaver left on the Logan River in the early 1960s, so I continued to look and think about why the beaver was there. Then I noticed a stake — an iron rod — with a chain or rope attached to it. I felt angry and disgusted that somebody had trapped a beaver and left it there to drown.
I decided to pull the stake out of the mud. The chain was attached to a big iron trap, which held the beaver under the water. After 30 or 40 wrenches I finally pulled the stake, chain and the dead beaver out of the river and I proceeded to bring my pickup truck down to the river’s edge. I guess the animal trap weighed in at 40 or 50 pounds, but I managed to get the trap exposed, the beaver out and threw the beaver, stake and chain into the truck, then I decided to return the beaver to the river, for his natural burial ground was in the river.
I still have the beaver trap. The story of the last day of Benjamin Beaver will not be forgotten by me. I hope the legend of Benjamin Beaver may be the last beaver to end his life on the Logan River.