In 1903, John McNabb and William Rist collaborated to file for a water rights claim for a snow ditch over Cameron Pass. The ditch started at Lake Agnes or Island Lake, and reached the Michigan River about halfway to the pass, where it carried the water over the pass and into the Poudre River watershed. Records indicate they had already begun work on the ditch on July 10, 1902. On January 7, 1904, having constructed one mile of the ditch, the men sold the ditch to Francis C. Grable, who then transferred it to Mountain Supply Ditch Company on June 24, 1904. However, McNabb and Rist continued construction of the ditch on behalf of the company, until they finally transferred all rights to Mountain Supply on October 22, 1906. This company constructed the ditch to its full length of seven miles.

On September 23, 1908, Mountain Supply sold Michigan Ditch and Joe Wright Reservoir to the North Poudre Irrigation Company. In 1923, the J. E. Grinstead company was awarded a contract to extend the ditch to Agnes Creek, which they did by installing 2,000 feet of wooden stave pipe, some sections of which are still in operation today.

The North Poudre Irrigation Company operated reservoir and ditch until 1971, when it sold Joe Wright Reservoir and Michigan Ditch to the City of Fort Collins. Because the ditch was in a state of disrepair, the city began reconstruction and reinstallation efforts in 1972 to rebuild parts of the ditch, complete a roadway, and lay plastic and steel pipe.[1. Stanley R. Case, The Poudre: A Photo History. Bellvue, CO: Stanley R. Case, 1995. pp. 236, 238, 242-251; Howard Ensign Evans and Mary Alice Evans, Cache La Poudre: The Natural History of a Rocky Mountain River (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1991), 205; Norman Walter Fry, Cache La Poudre: “The River” As Seen from 1889 (Second Printing), 23.]