County to buy Hunter Creek property

Eben Harrell

Pitkin County is on the verge of obtaining a privately held lot in one of Aspen’s most popular backcountry destinations.

Yesterday, the Pitkin County commissioners took the first step in approving purchase of the Little Chief Lode, a 9.8-acre mining claim in the Hunter Creek Valley near the McNamara Hut.

If the commissioners give final approval on April 14, the county will pay $375,000 for the property to secure it as part its open space program.

The purchase is part of a program called “Hunter Creek Forever,” a joint county and city effort to prevent residential and commercial development in the Hunter Creek Valley.

Officials are jubilant about the possibility of attaining the Little Chief property.

“Good things come to they who wait,” Pitkin County Open Space and Trails director Dale Will wrote in a memo to the commissioners. “The protection of the Hunter Creek Valley from residential development has been a long-standing community goal.”

The Little Chief mining claim belongs to Lyle Reeder, who in 2001 received approval to develop a 1,000-square-foot cabin on the property.

Reeder has always expressed a willingness to sell his backcountry inholding to the county. Immediately following the 2001 approval, Reeder was quoted in The Aspen Times saying, “If the county wants to buy it with open space money, I’d consider it.”

Yesterday, commissioner Jack Hatfield expressed his gratitude to Reeder.

“I’d like to thank Lyle Reeder for working with the county and making this available for a reasonable price. Our sincerest thanks,” Hatfield said.

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