Prince Creek trail moves forward

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Pitkin County commissioners on Wednesday approved the acquisition of about 10 acres along Prince Creek Road outside Carbondale for $675,000. The vote was 4-1, with Commissioner Michael Owsley dissenting.

The one-mile corridor, which varies in width from 30 to 120 feet, will allow the creation of a parking area and off-road trail, removing parked cars, mountain bikers and pedestrians from a narrow and busy stretch of the road, where safety is considered an issue. The land is part of Tybar Ranch.

The county will receive $700,000 from Two Shoes Ranch, owned by Leslie and Abigail Wexner, for the purchase and trail construction. Their contribution was part of a deal that garnered county support for a land exchange involving the Two Shoes Ranch and Bureau of Land Management. If the land swap does not go through, the county will receive half of the purchase price for the Tybar strip of land.

Owsley, who also objected to the county’s deal with the Wexners, said the acquisition did not make financial sense, given an appraisal of the property that put its value at far less than the purchase price.

“I think the county money can be better spent elsewhere,” Owsley said. “It all extends from getting into bed with the Wexners, which I deeply regret.”

If that’s the case, it will be the Wexners, not the county, paying too much for the property, Commissioner Rachel Richards countered.

The trail parcel isn’t a standard acquisition, making market comparisons for an appraisal difficult, County Manager Jon Peacock said.