Do the right thing with Grant’s Cabin
(A version of this letter was addressed to Pitkin County Attorney John Ely.)Dear Editor:Opportunity is knocking. It’s the opportunity to do the right thing. The Timroths are lifetime Aspenites. For generations, nobody in their family has moved away form here. They love this place!You have made your point in court and have won the battle to take possession of their cabin on Richmond Ridge; now how about making something good out of it?That cabin has been enriching lives for over 15 years. The Timroths have been more than worthy stewards of the land. Their cabin sits as if it grew right there on the mountain. If you don’t know how to get there, you would probably pass right by and never notice it. My general understanding of the open space program is that it exists to gather as many rural and remote titles as possible to slow development in the backcountry. I have a hard time seeing the threat this already developed site poses.One can’t help but wonder if there weren’t some other influences supporting this battle your office has waged. Is the one-day experience for high-paying customers on a powder tour worth cutting out an irreplaceable swath of local fabric? Grant’s Cabin has hosted skiers, non-skiers, young, old, east coast, west coast, Canadians to Hondurans. Is there a better way to expose people to the beauty of the area? It’s been a public service that goes way beyond what any patch of “open space” could ever hope for.My father was an attorney, and he spoke often about the written law and the spirit of the law. In 1975 Pitkin County tried to use governmental powers to take possession of our family’s property near the airport. We won in court, but my father did what he felt was best for this entire valley anyway. He gave Pitkin County the opportunity to take possession. Think the airport has problems now? Can you imagine if they hadn’t had the room to expand?Now that you’ve won in court, what will you do? Flexibility in government is working for the downtown merchants. We now know what happens when you operate outside the strict lines and work to maintain the “spirit” of the law. How many times is there a discussion of Aspen losing its soul? This cabin is a bastion for locals not on the social radar. Should you choose to ignore the opportunity that stands before you, it will mark yet another notch in the belt of Aspen’s deteriorating soul. You won’t stop us from skiing there, you’ll just wake us from the dream.I look forward to being able to have a great powder run down Queen’s and a cold beer with one of “Chef Paul’s” culinary masterpieces while watching another great sunset from the deck. I hope we can all meet up there on a Friday afternoon and be warmed by the fire. It will change your life.So, what happens now is up to you. Do the right thing. Lease it back to them.Craig Van OrdenBasalt
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