In the early years (1960s), Rich Beyer loved working with cedar and on camping trips to the Washington coast with family and friends, he would find large pieces of cedar driftwood that washed up on the shore. Using a chain saw, he would create sculptures on the spot. He also liked to explore forests near Seattle for downed cedar trees, which he cut up and hauled back to his shop to use in sculptures both large and small. A five-legged buffalo was given as a farewell gift to friends leaving Seattle. It still sits in a place of honor in a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
As Beyer gained skill and knowledge of materials, he moved from small sized pieces to larger than life works. His first large cedar piece was created in 1964. “The Peace Wolf“ shows a wolf standing with head down in a peaceful, non-threatening manner. In this work Beyer was expressing his own “peace testimony.” At first "The Peace Wolf "was given on loan to the Pike Place Market in Seattle (now the Seattle Public Market), but eventually sold to an individual family. About that time he also created two 8’ tall cedar sculptures of a “Sasquatch,” one of which still stands in the Seattle Public Market. Cedar is a long lasting medium, but not impervious to the elements. In 1994, the family that owned the Peace Wolf wanted to make it into a permanent sculpture so they commissioned Beyer to reproduce it into bronze, which he did using the original cedar moulds.