Hard work pays off
September 16, 2003
The Smuggler observation deck has been a cultural landmark for decades. Pitkin County acquired this land in 2000.
Unfortunately, the land around the deck suffered from outdoor recreational vehicle use, and other human impacts that resulted in soil compaction and loss of vegetation. The story was much the same on the county’s “Bayer” parcel further up the road, formerly the home of the “circle track.” Each property commands striking views of Aspen.
On a recent Saturday, the stewardship of these properties took a huge leap forward with a large restoration project sponsored by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers.
The project included the elimination of the old jeep access to the deck, the replacement of this with a gentle trail, fencing for restoration areas, a new deck, and extensive work to reverse soil compaction on a 1 1/2-acre area that used to be a de facto motocross track. All of these areas have been revegetated using species native to Smuggler Mountain.
The result is that the area remains user-friendly, with stellar views, while becoming more intimate and beautiful. Many thanks to the 50-plus volunteers who gave their time to accomplish all of this work in one day! Thanks also go to our project contributors: Matterhorn Bakery, Boogie’s Diner, Big Wrap, Grog Shop, Aspen Velo, Tom Lankering, Steve Goldenberg and Mark Tye.
We encourage everyone in the community to walk or bike up Smuggler Road to enjoy the view from the new deck or the Upper Lookout and appreciate the hard work done by your neighbors and fellow Smuggler-users to restore these areas.
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Dale Will, OST Executive Director
Gary Tennenbaum, OST Land Steward
Suzanne Wolff, RFOV Board Chair