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Keep a great tradition alive

The city of Boulder began its open space program over 100 years ago by the purchase of the scenic mountain vistas immediately adjacent to the town. It was a bold decision for the city at that time. Boulder today is still a national leader in open space preservation.

Over 100 years ago the Pitkin County commissioners purchased a private toll road into the Hunter Creek Valley to preserve public access. At the time it cost the unheard of sum of $10,000 – a lot of money for a small mining town. Ironically, the current county commissioners are still involved in protecting that historic decision.

It is now time for our community to move forward with dramatic actions. Smuggler Mountain and Shadow Mountain provide the important mountain setting for the town of Aspen. Smuggler Mountain to the east and Shadow Mountain to the west cradle Aspen.

Both mountains are now threatened by significant development. Our local governments, using their substantial existing opens space funds, should purchase the development rights on both mountains.

For over 18 years I was involved with the Pitkin County Park Association and the Aspen Valley Land Trust. There were many controversies during that time.

The other day I was asked what were your greatest regrets, mistakes or missed opportunities. I recalled that Ramona Markalunas some years ago tried to get the community to purchase the Midland right of way along the base of Shadow Mountain. It was for sale intact, as I recall, for a rather modest sum. Nobody rallied to the call. I think her train ideas scared us. We should have bought it then for open space.

Thanks for your consideration of these ideas.

Hal Clark

Woody Creek


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