Bonanza! It’s beachfront property in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Bonanza! It’s beachfront property in Aspen

Michael Cleverly

I was flipping through one of our local ad rags the other day, you know, one of those glossy magazines that adores celebrities and advertises things the rich think they need, and I had an epiphany. Or maybe it was a revelation, perhaps something bigger.

As I was flipping, I noticed a fair amount of blue sky and sand, images I found pleasant and soothing, pictures of beaches, and it dawned on me: Aspen has no beaches.

I think these images were advertising vacations, timeshares and real estate, but someplace else! Is that legal? I was stunned. How could this have happened? Where are the real estate agents when we need them? Are those people unfamiliar with the term “beachfront property”? Where the hell are our beaches? I felt a great emptiness.

I was spiraling into despair and then I remembered that, as it happens, there’s a fellow down in El Jebel who built a little water-ski lake in an attempt to do his part to rectify this “no beach” situation. A heroic effort, but a case of one man taking on, well, the geography of the Rocky Mountains. Quixotic, but nonetheless inspirational. I reflected on futility and insurmountable odds, and I decided that it would require a larger cast of characters to change our tragically beachless landscape. We’d need millionaire real-estate agents, we’d need evil, venal, millionaire lawyer-landlords, we’d need mendacious, millionaire developers, we’d need the fools in city and county government ” in other words, all the best people pulling together as one.

To save us from beachlessness it seems the first thing we’d need is water. There’s plenty of water here, because I can see it in my front yard in one of its other forms, up to my butt. It looks like an ant farm out there with little paths going from one pile of firewood to another; we could use that, it would be a start. I understand there are more piles of the stuff on the streets of Aspen, and we could use that too. Then there are those rivers ” how about some dams? Beavers could finally be good for something besides Sunday dinner.

I’m told there are fish in those rivers and that some people like to catch the fish and that these fisher people might get ticked off if we dammed up the rivers. So what? Do these fisher people travel up to Aspen and buy jewelry, fur coats, do they eat at the best restaurants, do they patronize the galleries? I doubt it. To hell with them! I’m told they don’t even use worms.

But lakes have fish, and then we’d need bait shops. A couple good bait and beer shops around here are about the only kind of new business I could get enthusiastic about. Aspen’s getting too shiny for its own good, and one of these days we’ll exit our front doors and have our retinas burned out by the reflective glare off the place.

Now you may ask, “Where are we going to put this water? Sure, beachfront property is pricey and a good investment, but this is the Roaring Fork Valley, fairly pricey in its own right.”

True, but I notice a whole bunch of land around our expensive real estate that’s just going to waste. What good is all this National Forest? If it can’t be bought, if it can’t be sold, if it can’t be developed, it’s useless. We’ll put the water there. We’ll get President Bush to help; he’ll understand. Then we’ll tweak some zoning and, Those mountains and peaks ” think islands. What do islands have? More beaches, more beachfront property.

Once we’ve created the beaches then the real-estate brokers can divvy it up and start selling lots to the super-rich and the greedy lawyers. These folks will snap them up as a great investment and proceed to build monster homes right on the beaches. Unfortunately these huge buildings will make it impossible for anyone but their inhabitants to actually see the beaches, but that’s OK. If the rest of us could see the beaches then we’d want to go there, and we couldn’t because the beaches would be behind the gates of the gated communities, and the gates would be at the end of private roads we aren’t allowed to drive on. There’d be “Starwood Shores,” “Red Mountain on the Beach,” “Wildcat… Smells Like Fish,” places like that. But that’s OK, too, because we really wouldn’t want to go to the beaches after all ” there’d be nothing but assholes there.

Of course, those we elect to look after our best interests will insist that there be some employee housing attached to all of this. Naturally, it will be at the bottom of the lake. An easy snorkel dive in the pleasant summer months, access will be a bit more difficult the rest of the year. This will be consistent with an entire category of “accessory dwelling units” within the city that have to be built, but don’t have to be occupied. The housing will be down there, just sans employees.

I realize that this is far from a complete master plan, but it’s a beginning. I urge you all to contact your nearest city or county official and get behind the effort.


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