History: Discovery of mammoth proportions
An Aspen Times article from Nov. 10, 2010 entitled “The Story behind Snowmass’ Ziegler Reservoir” recounts how the discovery of an ice age phenomenon began: “In 1958, on a trip out West, Peter Ziegler’s parents had ‘heard of a place called Aspen and drove over the dirt road Independence Pass to get here.’ Nearly a decade before the first chairlift ran up the Snowmass slopes, the Wisconsin family spotted the expansive property owned by sheepherder Art Roberts and before the year was out made a deal for purchase. Ten years later, the Zieglers purchased Ed Pierce’s land, which contained a small lodge and now were in possession of 325 acres teetering between what would become Snowmass Village and the Snowmass Creek Valley. ‘Dad originally saw this pretty meadow and saw a vision for a beautiful lake. He built a small dam to create Ziegler Lake,’ Peter Ziegler said. He went on to clarify that it was actually Johnny Hyrup who ‘went up with his bulldozer and created that dam.’ As the Ziegler children grew older, they were able to enjoy the getaway spot and never lost their appreciation for the property. The family’s patriarch passed along the title of the land to the six children in 1976 along with instilling the value of keeping it free from development. The 2007 sale to Water & San included the reservoir only and an easement to cross the property, but no land, according to Kit Hamby, Water and Sanitation, instead, the family put 125 acres of the property into a conservation easement with Aspen Valley Land Trust. The reservoir was needed, the district believed, to handle future water needs anticipated with the Base Village development, among others.” During the beginning of the reservoir expansion in the fall of 2010, Jesse Steele with Gould Construction unearthed the first mammoth bones — recognizing them to be something of importance and marking the beginning of a discovery of an ancient landscape that is still being studied by scientists from around the world through the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
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