McBride donates ranch easement to Aspen Valley Land Trust |

McBride donates ranch easement to Aspen Valley Land Trust

Staff Report
Lost Marbles Ranch
Pete McBride

A longtime Aspen couple has donated a conservation easement on their Capitol Creek Valley ranch to the Aspen Valley Land Trust, according to a statement Friday.

“We feel it’s the right thing to do for the land and the wildlife that inhabit it,” said John McBride, who has owned Lost Marbles Ranch with his wife, Laurie, for four decades.

The easement permanently protects wildlife habitat, agricultural land and scenery in the upper Capitol Creek drainage, according to the statement.

In fact, the easement creates a 5,300-acre corridor of private land within the Capitol Creek drainage that includes the Capitol Creek Ranch, Harvey Ranch and part of the Weiben Ranch, according to the AVLT statement. The land also is bordered by U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management property.

McBride helped develop Snowmass Village and led efforts to develop the Aspen Business Center and the North 40 residential neighborhood next door. He also founded Aspen’s junior hockey program.

McBride bought his Capitol Creek Ranch from the Mt. Emmons Mining Co. in 1979. The name “Lost Marbles” came about after the purchase when McBride’s friends thought he had gone crazy for buying property so far up the drainage, the release states.

“The McBrides have since lived on the ranch for the past 40 years,” according to the AVLT. “Through thoughtful stewardship, the property retains the same natural habitat and rural agricultural character today as when John first purchased it.”

AVLT Executive Director Suzanne Stephens grew up in the Capitol Creek Valley and praised the McBrides for the donation.

“This valley is the defining feature of my childhood and in many ways formed what Colorado means to me,” Stephens said in the statement. “I always said that if anything ever happened to it, I’d be outta here.”

Laurie McBride said the easement will “make conservation an everlasting reality in our valley.”

“We hope it inspires others to consider similar options,” she said in the statement.

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