Aspen Valley Land Trust raises enough for Marble Basecamp purchase

Staff report

The Aspen Valley Land Trust announced Tuesday night that it raised enough funds to buy and preserve Marble Basecamp.

“The community has met the fundraising goal for private donations and, pending a positive decision on a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado, which is scheduled for Thursday, the 47-acre parcel near Marble will be purchased and made available for outdoor education,” the announcement said.

Former and current teachers and students, parents and supporters of outdoor education gathered at the Limelight on Monday evening for a Basecamp reunion and celebration and learned that the private fundraising goal has been met. Key to reaching that goal was an announcement of a $50,000 donation from the Chapin Wright Flatiron Foundation, named in honor of a local who died tragically the night of his Aspen High School graduation in 1972. The Chapin Wright Flatirons Foundation is dedicated to preserving Chapin’s legacy while providing opportunities through financial assistance to local kids who embody his noble character. The Foundation also announced a donation of $10,000 to the Aspen School District, which it will use to support of the purchase of Basecamp — land that district students have used for outdoor education for more than 45 years.

Alpine Bank presented the land trust with a $25,000 donation Monday evening, and Tom and Patti Wheeler announced a donation of $25,000 from the Wheeler Family Foundation toward the project. Kindergarten teacher Beth Wille presented a $10,000 check on behalf of the Thrift Shop of Aspen, which regularly makes grants in support of education. A $10,000 anonymous donation in honor of Bill and Bonnie Huntley also was made Monday as well as a major gift from Jeff Bier, Sarah Murray and Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. A $5,000 gift to that fund from Patricia C. Moore Memorial Advised Fund at Aspen Community Foundation was announced Monday. The land trust also announced that an anonymous donor has pledged to make up any shortage between the donations received and the $200,000 in private donations needed to complete the project.

The Basecamp reunion was originally scheduled as a final push to raise funds to match a $10,000 challenge grant made by Anne Austin Clapper in memory of longtime teacher Willard Clapper, a goal that was exceeded by online and mail-in donations over the weekend. However, many community groups and individuals made additional contributions in honor of Willard, including a $2,500 gift from the Aspen Fire Department.

Any contributions above the project goal will be added to the Basecamp Forever Fund for property management, ecological projects and facility maintenance.