Grand River Ditch
|Nearest city||Grand Lake, Colorado|
|Area||460 acres (190 ha)|
|MPS||Rocky Mountain National Park MRA (AD)|
|NRHP reference No.||76000218|
|Added to NRHP||September 29, 1976|
The Grand Ditch, also known as the Grand River Ditch and originally known as the North Grand River Ditch, is a water diversion project in the Never Summer Mountains, in northern Colorado in the United States. It is 14.3 miles (23.0 km) long, 20 feet (6.1 m) wide, and 3 feet (0.91 m) deep on average. Streams and creeks that flow from the highest peaks of the Never Summer Mountains are diverted into the ditch, which flows over the Continental Divide at La Poudre Pass at 10,175 feet (3,101 m), delivering the water into Long Draw Reservoir and the Cache La Poudre River for eastern plains farmers. The water would otherwise have gone into the Colorado River (formerly known as the "Grand River", from which the name of the ditch is derived) that flows west towards the Pacific; instead, the Cache La Poudre River goes East and through the Mississippi River discharges into the Gulf of Mexico.
The ditch was started in 1890 and wasn't completed until 1936. The ditch diverts between 20 and 40% of the runoff from the Never Summer Mountains, and delivers an average of 20,000 acre feet (25,000,000 m3). It significantly impacts the ecology in the valley below and the National Park Service has fought in court to reduce the amount of diverted water.
The Grand Ditch was built by the Larimer County Ditch Company, mostly by Japanese crews, working with hand tools and black powder. The first diverted water flowed east across La Poudre Pass on October 15, 1890. Water Supply and Storage Company took over ownership in 1891.The ditch was extended every year, and reached three miles in 1894.
After the creation of Rocky Mountain National Park, increasing demand for water led to the creation of Long Draw Reservoir, and the required land was taken away from the park by Congress in 1923. Long Draw reservoir opened in 1930. The Grand Ditch was then lengthened one more time—this also required an act of Congress since it was now in a national park—to 14.3 miles (23.0 km) in September 1936.
In May 2003 a 100 ft (30 m) section of the ditch breached about 2.4 miles (3.9 km) south of La Poudre Pass, causing the water to cascade down the slopes and into the Colorado River. The flood left a visible scar on the mountainside: 20,000 trees were downed and 47,600 cubic yards of debris ended up in the Lulu Creek and the headwaters of the Colorado River. The Water Supply and Storage Company reached a settlement to pay $9 million in damages to Rocky Mountain National Park. Periodic overflows of the ditch, of which the 2003 flood was but one example, has left debris all over the western side of the valley; the eastern side is not affected.
The Grand River Ditch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 29, 1976.It can be hiked starting from the Bowen/Baker Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park.
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Milner Pass, elevation 10,759 ft (3,279 m) is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado in the United States. It is located on the continental divide in the Front Range, within Rocky Mountain National Park, along the boundary between Larimer and Grand counties. The pass provides the passage over the continental divide for US 34, also known as Trail Ridge Road between Estes Park and Grand Lake. The pass is not, however, the high point on Trail Ridge Road, which crests at 12,183 ft (3,713 m) east of the pass within Rocky Mountain National Park. Along with the rest of Trail Ridge Road, the pass is generally closed in winter from the first heavy snow fall until the opening of the road around Memorial Day. The gentle pass divides the headwaters of the Cache la Poudre River and several creeks near the headwaters of the Colorado River to the west. The road near the pass provides a panoramic view of the Never Summer Mountains to the west.
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The Laramie-Poudre Tunnel is an early transmountain tunnel in the U.S. state of Colorado. The tunnel transfers water from the west side of the Laramie River basin, which drains to the North Platte River, to the east side Cache la Poudre River basin that drains to the South Platte River. The tunnel is about 11,500 feet (3,500 m) long with variable diameters with a minimum diameter of about 5.3 feet (1.6 m). The diameter varied due to the different material mined through and the erosion of almost 90 years of water flow. It is located at about 8,400 feet (2,600 m) elevation with about a 1.7 degree down slope. The Laramie River lies about 225 feet (69 m) higher than the Cache La Poudre River at this location separated only by a mountain ridge. The Laramie-Poudre Tunnel is located about 45 miles (72 km) west-northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, about 20 miles (32 km) south of the Wyoming border and about 25 miles (40 km) north of Rocky Mountain National Park. It was built between 1909 and 1911 for the Laramie-Poudre Reservoirs & Irrigation Co. to convey water from the Laramie River to the Poudre River for Front Range irrigation. The tunnel was driven for the purpose of conveying through the divide 800 cu.ft of water per second.
Spring Creek is a 12.7-mile-long (20.4 km) tributary of the Cache La Poudre River in the state of Colorado in the United States.
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