Approve Sutey exchange
I am writing to again ask the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners to approve the latest Two Shoes-Sutey Ranch compromise proposal advanced by the Wexner family. It seems that this new proposal has everything the county could possibly hope for, including a $1 million donation for the Bureau of Land Management to manage the Sutey Ranch.
However, as the first executive director of the Aspen Valley Land Trust, my main interest in the exchange is what it will do for the Crystal River Valley. Readers may recall that just last summer, Pitkin County and Great Outdoors Colorado partnered to acquire a $7.5 million conservation easement on the Cold Mountain Ranch, just south of Carbondale. This large and important purchase lies near other land already under conservation easement with the county, but more importantly almost directly across the Crystal River and Highway 133 from where the Wexners are now proposing to eliminate seven already-approved homesites and a large indoor riding arena. Almost 90,000 square feet of development in total would be given up.
The primary, and laudable, reasons given by Pitkin County for making the Cold Mountain Ranch purchase were to prevent sprawl from creeping up the Crystal south of Carbondale, and preserving the scenic vistas and agricultural operations in the area. It would seem that the Wexners’ offer does exactly the same thing in the same area, and is a perfect complement to the county/GOCO purchase last year. Better yet, the Wexner plan is a donation that doesn’t cost us a penny, as another letter recently observed.
Lastly, the Wexner plan goes beyond just surrendering development rights in the area. It also puts a conservation easement on an area in Potato Bill Creek just up the river, and thereby protects what the Colorado Division of Wildlife has said is some of the best remaining bighorn sheep habitat left in our county … AND it would result in a total block of 2,600 acres (four square miles) of conservation easement land on the slopes of Mount Sopris once the land exchange is completed.
As I have said before, it is simply incomprehensible to me why our commissioners haven’t already approved the land exchange.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Like perennial flowers that bud every spring, the plans for a redesign of the Snowmass Rodeo grounds at Town Park have once again popped up in town discussions.