The sign in the photo is probably too small in this reproduction to read, but it says that more than 600 beaver would be dropped that year and that 50 had already been dropped in the Chamberlain Basin, northeast of McCall and in the Lochsa-Selway area.
The crates, each containing one 80-100 pound beaver, were dropped in pairs, one male, one female, so that courtship could begin soon after the wooden containers opened on impact. Using cargo chutes, which would later be retrieved by employees hiking into the back country, the beaver boxes were dropped from about 600 feet.
This might seem a silly effort, but it was successful in getting more beavers into areas where they were needed. Yes, needed. Tens of thousands of beavers were taken for their fur in the 19th century, and trapping continues today on a smaller scale. The rodents can change the character of an area faster than anything, save fire. They create terrific habitat for dozens of species.
Beavers rarely fly, the previous example being the exception. They are the largest rodent in North America and the second largest in the world, edged out by South America’s capybara.