Ashcroft gets some local lovin’ |

Ashcroft gets some local lovin’

Jill Evans
Special to The Aspen Times
NEW ASHCROFT---Visitors to the famous local ghost town of Ashcroft will be greeted by a snack stand and new staff structure in the popular landmark. Daniel Bayer photo.
Daniel Bayer © 2003 |

The ghost town of Ashcroft is coming back to life through the efforts of a few organizations and the passion of some dedicated people.

HeritageAspen, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Forest Service have combined their efforts to preserve the beautiful, historic town.

In the mid-1980s the Forest Service issued a permit to the Aspen Historical Society, now HeritageAspen, to take over stewardship of Ashcroft. It was the first time the Forest Service had ever issued such a permit and the Historical Society jumped at the chance.

Georgia Hansen, head of HeritageAspen, said, “We had various levels of success and believed that it could be done better.”

So in the past year HeritageAspen teamed up with other people and organizations to create a plan to better serve the community through education of the valley’s natural and human history.

Trevor Washko, who works for ACES as the Castle Creek Valley naturalist and is known as the mayor of Ashcroft, said, “Ashcroft is amazing because of its unfounded reality in mining, as a ski resort or as a real estate development. Because of people working hard to preserve this town we are not looking at multimillion-dollar homes sitting in this valley.”

Efforts by ACES, HeritageAspen, the Forest Service, Toklat, Pine Creek Cookhouse, Elk Mountain Lodge, Ashcroft Ski Associates, and the White River Interoperate Association are starting to pay off with a number of improvements on the way.

For starters, there’s now an information basket inside Toklat, the gallery overlooking Ashcroft. With this information a person can navigate their way through the ghost town and read about its extensive history.

The Toklat’s Copper Cart offers gourmet sandwiches and salads, as well as snacks and drinks. The Forest Service is upgrading the trails along the river that connect to the Pine Creek Cookhouse.

“Ideally we are hoping that people will come up here and wander through the ghost town or take a tour, and then hike along the river and have lunch either at the [future] Pine Creek Cookhouse or Toklat, and finish by wandering through the gallery,” Washko said.

Tours run every day at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m., but guides are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone wanting to contribute to the preservation and presentation of Ashcroft can attend a volunteer day on Aug. 16. For more information, contact HeritageAspen at 925-5321 or Toklat 925-7345.

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