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Utah Travel Headlines

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Flaming Gorge - History And Insights


Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the main attraction in a popular national recreation area in northeastern Utah. The reservoir is large, with deep, clear, cold water. It's a wonderful spot to fish, boat, ski, camp and engage in other activities.

The reservoir inundated many miles of the Green River, in a rugged and remote canyon with raging rapids. Its history somewhat parallels that of Glen Canyon, which was inundated by the rising waters of Lake Powell. Glen Canyon has become a famous icon representing paradise lost; it is immortalized in countless articles and photos and books, mostly promoting environmental causes.

Flaming Gorge - the canyon that existed before the reservoir - remained virtually unknown. Until now. Now a new book explores the history of the canyon, its rapids and ranches and the people who loved it.

The new book is entitled: Flaming Gorge: The Place Few People Knew. It was written by historian and river runner Roy Webb and it contains notable historic photos. The Salt Lake Tribune has this article about the book. Below are excerpts.

"Flaming Gorge was the place no one really knew," said Webb, referencing a book on Glen Canyon called The Place No One Knew, by Eliot Porter and David Brower. "It was known only by the people who floated it, a few river runners and [Flaming Gorge] historian Bill Purdy."

The little town of Linwood, home to about 100 people and the Bucket of Blood Saloon, was the only town of any size lost to Flaming Gorge. For the most part, it was bulldozed, but some buildings were moved before the gates to the dam were closed. Uncle Jack Robinson’s cabin, built by a fur trapper in the 1840s, was moved to an area near Green Lakes, making it one of Utah’s oldest surviving structures.

Webb dreamed of writing the book about what was lost to Flaming Gorge Dam since writing his first book in 1986, which covered some of the area. He quickly discovered that, unlike Glen Canyon, little research had actually been done on what was flooded.

"It wasn’t Glen Canyon, but it deserved its own place [in history]," said Webb.

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