OURAY COUNTY The history of "The Ouray Water Gap"

The "Ouray Water Gap" includes the upper Uncompahgre River Valley as it runs north from Ridgway, including Ridgway Reservoir.

Plaindealer photo by Bill Tiedje

By Bill Tiedje

Before a reservoir and a highway filled the high-banked valley where the Uncompahgre River flows north from Ridgway, the "Ouray Water Gap" was home to a self-reliant group of farmers, road builders and entrepreneurs.

Jack and Barbara Rairden began work on their book "The Ouray Water Gap" in 2012.
The National Park Service has described a "water gap" as a pass (in the mountains) that a river runs through. The term is used more frequently in the eastern U.S.
The book is a historical account of the area between the Uncompahgre River’s confluences with Dallas Creek and Billy Creek.

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