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Wilderness Workshop to lose two key employees

Jeremy Heiman

The Aspen Wilderness Workshop announced Tuesday that two of its key staff members have left the organization.

Executive Director Beverly Compton and Mapping Specialist Richard Compton will take up work on the White River Conservation Project, which is affiliated with a coalition of environmental groups called Southern Rockies Forest Network. The project involves mapping and identifying the character of 5 million acres of roadless land in the Southern Rockies.

The Aspen Wilderness Workshop’s board said it was happy with the work the Comptons have done to increase the organization’s influence in the conservation arena. The Comptons will maintain close ties with the group.

“Beverly certainly strengthened the workshop,” said Connie Harvey, a member of the organization’s board of directors and a founding member. “She’s made it more visible and increased the membership.”

“I don’t feel that we’ve lost Richard,” Harvey added. His new position involves a continuation of the mapping work he was doing under the workshop, and that work will be shared with the workshop.

At this time, the workshop doesn’t plan to replace the Comptons. The board will take on some of the executive director’s administrative duties, Harvey said.

Richard Compton looks back at the work he and Beverly did with satisfaction.

“I think we all came together at a critical time to work on the White River National Forest plan revision,” Compton said. Together with workshop Conservation Director Sloan Shoemaker and a host of volunteers, they wrote the comments that gave the direction to Alternative I, the conservation alternative in the environmental impact statement.

Judging by the comments the White River National Forest got, the strongest responses were in favor of Alternative I and Alternative D, Compton noted.

“That indicates support for conservation-oriented management is as strong or stronger than the `use-it-all-now’ approach,” he said.

Connie Harvey said the Aspen Wilderness Workshop will continue its ongoing projects. One of those will be to influence the travel management plan being created for the White River National Forest.

The group will stay involved in the issue of the mining claims Pitkin County intends to trade for land at the U.S. Forest Service Tree Farm in El Jebel. Citizens, supported by attorney Gary Wright, have claimed that those parcels are privately owned.

“We think that most of those statements are without merit,” Harvey said.

The group is also keeping an eye on what the Forest Service intends to build at Maroon Lake, who’s taking water out of Maroon Creek and how good the air is on top of Aspen Mountain.

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