The tappers appearance was actually initiated by Lewis and Clark’s overland journey to the Pacific Northwest, when they reported a wealth of fur-bearing animals in the region. Beaver were very plentiful. As early as 1830, mountain men formed trapping brigades capturing beaver for the Hudson's Bay Company at Fort Vancouver.  Atfalati people avoided the beaverdam land since it was swampy and covered with lakes. They called it Chakeipi, “the place of the beaver.” Many of the creeks and streams around the countryside were especially favorable for beaver, and so became a trapper’s paradise. The mountain men came and successfully trapped. After 1835 there was so much over-trapping, the catch declined.

Silk hats became the fashion rage rather than the formerly popular beaver felt hats. By 1840 most beaver were gone. Many of the Mountain Men, trappers and traders ended up retiring in the Pacific Northwest after the 1840 hardships in the fur trade.  They had seen the prime farmland and vast timber stands, so many became the first settlers.


Trappers & the Beaver Trade