Stuart Mace would be proud
Dear Editor: I am writing this on the eve of the transition of Toklat from the Mace family to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. It has been 11 years since the death of my grandfather, Stuart Mace, and his home in Castle Creek Valley is about to become a new environmental center for ACES. The Mace family has been in this place for 56 years, and children and grandchildren have grown up roaming its meadows. Although there is some sadness in the air, there is great hope and a sense of fulfillment and expectation. I find myself thinking that this is exactly what he would want, and I am filled with joy at the promise of a new forum for his teachings and beliefs.Toklat has been a lodge, a restaurant, a kennel, an art gallery and a home. My fondest memories are of being there and participating in many of those endeavors. As a small child, I can remember my brother Amos, my cousin Brian and myself sitting on top of one of the hanging tables with my older cousin Laura pushing it like a swing. The look on my grandfather’s face was priceless, and in retrospect totally worth the firewood carrying that was our punishment.I had the wonderful opportunity to work for both Stuart and my aunt Lynne in the gallery over the years, and my fondness for cooking was developed and honed while doing the cookouts for groups from ACES, the Aspen Institute and others. It is the place I always think of when I sing “Over the river and through the woods” at Christmastime, and I will continue to think of it that way as ACES takes it into its next transformation. Stuart once said, “Life at Toklat has allowed us to mature and to raise a family in tune with the rhythms and responses that surround us in this glorious alpine valley we call home.” I hope that this next incarnation of Toklat brings those same gifts to others who have the opportunity to cross its threshold and walk its paths. His passion for the valley and stewardship of the land can now be shared in a new forum that will both preserve Toklat and give it new life.The natural progression of Stuart’s actions and teachings seem to be embodied by the movement of Toklat into a place of education and stewardship. The passing of Toklat from the family to ACES follows closely with his belief in legacy. He said, “We do not need to seek immortality. It is a gift we all receive. We only mark it as we can control our massive egos and reach a peace with the whole of our family.”I believe that ACES may bring a peace to the Mace family that we have not felt since the death of our patriarch, and I hope that the same peace will continue to be spread through this new endeavor. We all miss him, and he is still so much a part of us, which is why I can truly say that I support this transition with all my heart.Alana Mace Superior
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