Rivers of Ash, Rock and Water
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Volcanoguy
N 42° 54.486 W 117° 16.951
11T E 476938 N 4750648
This history sign is located at the Vale Project Interpretive Site on U.S. Hwy. 95 about 12.5 miles southwest of Jordan Valley, Oregon.
Waymark Code: WMAV9T
Location: Oregon, United States
Date Posted: 02/26/2011
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 5

This is one of a group of interpretive signs in the kiosk at the Vale Project Interpretive Site. This sign is on the front side of the kiosk and deals with the geologic history and early human history of the area.

Marker Name: Rivers of Ash, Rock and Water
Marker Text: Rivers of Ash, Rock, and Water have sculped the spectacular scenery of Owyhee Canyon Country. Here is a landscape rich in geologic history. A place where you and your friends can explore towering rock formations, hundreds of miles of river, colorful canyons and vast lava flows that reveal 15 million years of both violent and gradual change.

Explosive Eruptions, some from volcanoes hundreds of miles away, have coated southeast Oregon time and again. Beds of ash, thick lava flows, and sediments from ancient lakes have formed this inter-mountain plateau.

Mahogany Mountains, 30 miles to the north, erupted dense flows of ash 16 million years ago. The eroded spires and cliffs of the Owyhee canyons expose layers of welded flows up to a thousand feet thick. A wetter climate began about 20,000 years ago. Lava flows filled the stream valleys, damming them to form large lakes. Rivers scoured out canyons and carved ridges and hills. Forests grew in many locations that are now arid grasslands. Eventually, a drier climate set in encouraging the shrubs, grasses, and sagebrush-scented setting you view today.

12,000 Years of Occupation in a rugged land have left many reminders of the people who settled the Owyhee country. Native Americans wintered on the Owyhee River in small groups, fishing the rivers in Spring and traveling to the hills in summer to hunt and to xxxxxmissing textxxxxx and roots. Xx xxecherries xx xx xxberries were xx xx xxest near the river xx xx.

Fall Chinook saxx xx xx xx xx xxfull people back to the river in xx xx xx xx whitefish and suckers. Hudson Bay Company trappers, led by Peter Skene Ogden were the first Europeans to visit the region. Ogden camped on the Snake River and sent two Hawaiians to trap on a large tributary. The two men were killed by Indians, and Ogden named the tributary in their honor. Over time the Hawaii River became the “Owyhee”, the name slurred by travelers and settlers who came later.

Basque Sheepherders arrived in the late 1800’s and small communities were formed to supply ranchers with needed supplies.

The towns of Jordan Valley, Arock and Watson sprang up during this period and the descendants of these early ranchers remain today.

The 1930’2 brought the Great Depression to Owyhee Country and many farms and ranches were abandoned. The town site of Watson was covered by the rising waters of Owyhee Reservoir in 1936, after the river was dammed to supply irrigation water. The remains of abandoned homesteads, corrals and stone fences still dot the river, a legacy to the proud and hardy people that built their dreams in this rugged landscape.

Historic Topic: Geological

Group Responsible for placement: BLM

Marker Type: Roadside

Region: Eastern Oregon

County: Malheur

State of Oregon Historical Marker "Beaver Board": Not listed

Web link to additional information: Not listed

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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Phydux visited Rivers of Ash, Rock and Water 05/10/2014 Phydux visited it
Volcanoguy visited Rivers of Ash, Rock and Water 10/01/2009 Volcanoguy visited it

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