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June 10, 2014
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John Denver peace pole relocated to new home near Aspen

Another part of John Denver’s Windstar legacy has been reborn at a new home.

A peace pole that was presented to Denver in the late 1980s and erected at Denver’s Windstar Foundation property in Old Snowmass was relocated Monday evening to the home of the nonprofit organization Aspen T.R.E.E.

The peace pole was given to the musician and peace advocate by an organization striving for world peace. Windstar Foundation was disbanded last year and the property was sold. The John Denver Aspen Glow Fund was created to administer the assets, which included more than $4 million from the sale of the land.

Part of Denver’s legacy was given a new home last fall when Aspen Glow Fund gave a larger-than-life bronze statue of Denver called “Spirit” to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. “Spirit” will be erected outside of the famed Red Rocks amphitheater this year when the Music Hall of Fame relocates there.

Karmen Dopslaff, a former member of Windstar’s board of directors and a member of the committee supervising the Aspen Glow Fund, said Aspen T.R.E.E. was chosen last year to receive the peace pole. The organization stands for many of the same principles that Denver supported, she said.

“They’re like a tiny Windstar,” Dopslaff said. “They do carry out the vision of Windstar.”

The organization’s acronym stands for Together Regenerating the Environment through Education. The organization promotes sustainable agriculture and uses education to connect people to place.

Aspen T.R.E.E. has a greenhouse, chicken coop, gardens and education center at Cozy Point Ranch. The peace pole will be relocated to a prime position in the garden, Program Director Paul Huttenhower said.

He noted that the organization has modeled some of its efforts after Windstar Foundation’s examples. “Our (youth) camp is even named after the Earthkeepers’ camp in memory of John Denver,” Huttenhower said.

Dopslaff and Huttenhower have consulted with John Hunt, an Englishman who helped present the peace pole to Denver in the 1980s. They learned that the organization he works with placed peace poles around the world. The idea is to “increase the vibration of peace on a world scale,” Huttenhower said. Aspen T.R.E.E. will be honored to help that mission, he said.

A short ceremony was held Monday night while transferring the peace pole from Windstar to Cozy Point. Aspen T.R.E.E. supporters were invited to sing along with three John Denver songs focused on peace, then dedicate the pole at its new home.

A second ceremony featuring a Ute blessing will be held tonight. Huttenhower said it was important to Aspen T.R.E.E. supporters to reach out to the Ute tribe. “If you’re going to talk about peace, you’ve got to talk about the people who were the first ones on the land,” he said.

Tonight’s ceremony will include the lighting of a fire to “release any ancestral wounds surrounding land abuse, dislocation, colonization and any other her or his story around land pain,” Aspen T.R.E.E.’s invitation said.

Roland McCook, a Ute Indian from the Montrose area, agreed to help lead the ceremony. His only condition was that Ute words that loosely translate to “Peace to all People,” be added to the peace pole.

The pole already featured peace messages in English, French, Japanese and Russian. Huttenhower added the phrase in the Ute language.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Jun 10, 2014 12:00AM Published Jun 10, 2014 09:53AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.