Oregon is called “The Beaver State” because of the long association of the state with the animal. The beaver was chosen as the official animal of Oregon for the same reasons that Oregon is also called “The Beaver State.” In 1969, the beaver was declared the official state animal by Oregon's state legislature. The early settlers in the state trapped the animal for its its meat as well as for the fur, which they used to make items like fur hats. At the time, fur hats were very fashionable, and the excessive demand for the commodity led to a massive overhunting of beavers. This was in addition to the hunting of the animals by Native Americans, who used both the meat and fur of beavers.
Beavers were abundant in Oregon because the many streams in the state made a perfect habitat for the animals, which rapidly procreated and multiplied. This development led to the establishment of numerous trapping routes where fur trappers would set traps along the animals' places of habitat in order to catch them and sell their meat and fur. These early trapping routes eventually morphed into the area that is identified as The Oregon Trail.
Such massive hunting of the creature led to a sharp decline in its population. This led the Oregon authorities to intervene before they were hunted to extinction. One of the ways it did this was to provide partial protection to the beavers and to establish an effective management program that allowed the animals to breed once more and proliferate as they once did. This close involvement of the Oregon government with the protection of the animals is part of the reason why the state is known as "The Beaver State." The early fashion of the settlers where the fur of the beaver was used to make fur hats is another reason why Oregon is referred to by this nickname.
Beavers are one of the largest rodents in the world. They are only second to the capybara in size. They are renowned for their construction abilities, which they employ to build dams. These dams not only provide shelter and protection from predators to the beavers, but they also serve as natural sources of erosion control. This industriousness is a quality that has further endeared the beaver to the state of Oregon, leading to its adoption as the state animal and to the designation of Oregon as “The Beaver State.”