Tracy Vallier (right, in below group photo) was honored at an unveiling ceremony in mid-August 2014, at Idaho Power's Copperfield Park, where a bronze plaque commemorating Tracy's groundbreaking research into the geology of Hells Canyon was unveiled. The plaque will be mounted on a large rock in the day use area at Copperfield Park, where it will inform generations to come of the contributions made by Hells Canyon's foremost interpreter.
Shown in the right photo with Tracy are his longtime friend and colleague, David Fredley (center) and Ric Bobier (left), manager of Idaho Power's Hells Canyon Complex. About two dozen of Tracy's friends and admirers, some from the Oxbow area and some from farther afield, were there for the occasion, which came as a surprise to the lifelong rock hound.
Vallier had been visiting the area with his middle son, Lane. Tracy's oldest son, Garry, joined the family get-together along with Tracy's grandson Daniel (Garry's son). The entire celebration was organized by David and Diana Fredley of Newport, Washington.
To view some great photos from the ceremony click here.
"Let me tell you a story about the rocks."
Commemorating over a half century of geologic interpretation of Hells Canyon of the Snake River by
Tracy L. Vallier, Ph.D.
The rocks of Hells Canyon have been revealing their secrets to Tracy for more than 50 years. Thousands of students, friends and colleagues have learned about the formation of the canyon from the master story-teller, the super geologist, our lifelong teacher.
Copperfield Park is located downstream of Oxbow Dam on the Oregon side of the Snake River. The park lays on the old town site of Copperfield, Oregon, a mining community known in the early 1900's as the rowdiest town in Oregon. The town was formed in the late 1890s as "Copper Camp", and was inhabited by prospectors of the local copper ore. The population grew to 1,000 by 1910 because two tunnels were being dug near The Oxbow by the local railroad company and by the predecessor of the Idaho Power Company.
By early 1913 the construction jobs began to peter out and the town acquired a reputation for lawlessness. Governor Oswald West signed declaration of martial law to clean up the place. Fire destroyed Copperfield in August 1915. There were two more fires, and then the post office closed in 1927, essentially turning Copperfield into a ghost town. In 1965, the community of Oxbow was founded just south of the site of Copperfield when the Idaho Power Company was building the Oxbow Dam. The former site of Copperfield is now a park run by Idaho Power. Originally built in 1965, the park received a renovation in 1989.