No hurry to name ‘Mountain Park’ |

No hurry to name ‘Mountain Park’

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails

ASPEN – Pitkin County shouldn’t rush to come up with the official name for a collection of open space properties connected by the recent acquisition of land from the Droste family, Open Space and Trails officials concluded last week.

The Droste land is the centerpiece of roughly 2,500 acres of open space extending from Snowmass Village to Highway 82. When it was purchased late last year, the Open Space and Trails board of trustees began batting around the idea of an overarching name for all of the properties, which include Upper North Mesa, Seven Star, Hidden Valley, Droste, Cozy Point, Cozy Point South, Airport Bluff and the Burlingame Ranch west parcel. In addition, Aspen Mass and the Mills property, two other open space holdings, are located across the highway from Cozy Point. All of the parcels will be part of a management plan that has yet to be drafted.

Open Space and Trails staffers have taken to referring to the Droste property and surrounding lands as the “Mountain Park” after identifying the Droste land as Wapiti Ridge Mountain Park (wapiti is the Ute word for elk) in an application for Great Outdoors Colorado funding to help buy the parcel.

On Thursday, open space director Dale Will told the board that Commissioner Rachel Richards, chairperson of the Board of County Commissioners, suggested forming a committee that involves the key open space “stakeholders” to come up with a name. Public suggestions would be solicited as part of the process.

The board agreed, and directed Will and his staff to propose the committee’s membership.

“I don’t think we should rush on this,” said board member Hawk Greenway, though he suggested each individual open space parcel would logically have its own name. The collection of properties would be given a name that reflects the significance of the greater mountain park.

Board member Anne Rickenbaugh suggested whatever entity owns the individual pieces be responsible for the individual names. Hidden Valley and Upper North Mesa, for example, are Snowmass Village open space parcels, though board members pondered whether Upper North Mesa has any particular meaning to the public.

Board members appeared willing to drop Seven Star as a name for the county’s open space land bordering the Droste parcel to the west. How the Seven Star name originated is unclear, Will said.

Once an old barbed-wire fence between Seven Star and Droste is dismantled, there will be nothing to distinguish where one parcel ends and another begins.

Board member Tim McFlynn, too, said the community should take its time in choosing a name for the assemblage of properties. It should happen after the public has a chance to visit the Droste ridgeline that separates the Owl Creek and Brush Creek valleys. The ridge is now scheduled to open May 23, weather permitting.

“I’m someone who feels like the best way to get a sense for the best name for any geographic place on the planet is to stand on it,” he said. “To do it fast is to do it without anyone seeing it.”

McFlynn said he doesn’t believe the Droste name will stick in the public’s consciousness as the name of the property regardless of what official name is eventually chosen.

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