ACES touts green vision for Spring Creek | AspenTimes.com

ACES touts green vision for Spring Creek

Lindsy Fortier photoTrustees and staff from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies survey the local nonprofit's latest land acquisition: Spring Creek, a 160-acre parcel in the Fryingpan River

ASPEN – The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies’ latest land acquisition will bring the nonprofit more than just additional acreage. It also will offer the nature center a chance to explore new ground in green energy technologies, among other things.

According to ACES Executive Director Tom Cardamone, Spring Creek could some day be home to hydroelectric and solar facilities, and heat-pump technology. These technologies would serve Spring Creek while providing a learning opportunity to a greater audience.

“The process of installing and managing these technologies would be used as a demonstration and teaching tool,” said Cardamone, adding that ACES is just beginning the planning process for such a program. “We’re all talking about climate change and the need to restore habitats and reduce our carbon footprints. We believe Spring Creek can bring these things together.”

Drs. Richard Timmer and Marilyn Rice, who had owned the property since 1965, donated Spring Creek to ACES in December. The 160-acre parcel is located 25 miles up the Fryingpan, and 2 miles up the Eagle-Thomasville Road. The property had long been used as a fish hatchery.

The land donation was the result of a decade-long relationship with Timmer and Rice, and was based on mutual long-term goals for the property, Cardamone said.

“Dr. Timmer had an interest in having the property continue on with some useful public conservation and education purpose,” Cardamone explained. “And ACES seemed to be a good match for him because of the blend of wildlife interests, fishing interest and education interests, and our expertise in those areas.”

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While ACES already acts as stewards of several Roaring Fork Valley properties, Cardamone said the organization sees new opportunities in Spring Creek.

“It’s a remarkable piece of property in its diversity of ecosystems,” he said, noting the land comprises everything from sagebrush to fir tree forests to aspen stands, as well as three streams. “And it will provide great opportunities to learn about ecosystem and native species restoration.”

In addition to green technologies, ACES plans to use Spring Creek as an education center for high school- and college-aged students with a focus on the study of ecosystem and native species restoration.

In fact, Cardamone said ACES’ current plan does not include reviving the fish hatchery. Rather, the organization plans to resort the area to a “more natural condition, but [in] a way that trout could be protected and possibly reared.”

jmcgovern@aspentimes.com