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Incredible week in incredible place

This is not the usual story of the beauty, the activity, and the culture that is part of daily life for all of us fortunate enough to live in the Roaring Fork Valley.

It is about community coming together to protect what is special to all of us and to fight inevitable adversity. It is to thank all of the emergency personnel, the county staff, and the volunteers who have helped the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Valley this past week.

On Oct. 30, wildfire broke out in the valley. The Snowmass Village Fire Department and police were quickly on the scene, notifying residents, controlling traffic and starting containment. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office and the Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale fire departments plus the Colorado River Fire Crew joined this extraordinary effort in adverse conditions. With the raging wind, they did a remarkable job of containing the blaze to a small area.

While the professionals were working, some of the residents in the area were moving livestock to pastures other neighbors offered. Others were packing their vehicles with pets, enough to get by for a few days, and things that could not be replaced (it is an interesting exercise everyone should go through, at least mentally). All the while my phone was ringing with offers of help and of places to stay. The response of the emergency personnel was extraordinary, efficient and professional, and that of the citizens of the community was special.

This followed a Tuesday evening meeting, when the Snowmass-Capitol Creek Caucus master plan committee took two-and-a-half years of work to the Pitkin County Planning and Zoning Board. Goals and objectives were presented stressing the feelings guiding them; and county planning director Cindy Houben and staff planner Ellen Sassano, who have thoughtfully offered assistance when called upon, helped at the meeting with technicalities.

Then residents spoke of their passion for the valley, many of them having supported reduced density for their own land. Tim Malloy, the professional planner who worked with the caucus, said that when some people were speaking he thought, there are not many moments like this in a lifetime. I’m not going to worry about what’s next in the meeting. I’ll sit back and let this moment stand alone. It is too special to miss.

Underneath the superficiality outsiders see, there is a supportive, caring and hard-working community of neighbors, friends, volunteers and professionals. To all of those who have been part of this week, our thanks and gratitude is too little, but it is what we have now to give back.

Sue Helm

Snowmass


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