Aspen Valley Land Trust neutral on Lift One |

Aspen Valley Land Trust neutral on Lift One

Aspen Valley Land Trust would like to clear up some confusion over use of our name, without our knowledge or permission, in the “Love Letter to Aspen” from Jeff Gorsuch over Valentine’s Day. While the statement thanking us was generous — “This is an idea whose time has come thanks to the Aspen Valley Land Trust” — it’s also misleading. We’ve been asked more than a few times if it’s true that we support this plan.

AVLT is not in the business of taking a position for or against any proposed development within city limits, as long as the conservation interests and benefits that we protect are not abused. We firmly believe it is up to the residents and voters to decide how their town should be developed, and it is outside our mission to endorse or oppose any such proposals.

In the case of Lift One, Aspen Valley Land Trust holds the conservation easement over the Dolinsek property (which is now owned by the city) for the expressed purpose of protecting its future as a public park. The easement was designed to ensure the property would not be absorbed into the ski area or covered with ski area infrastructure. The conservation easement, which was granted at the behest of the Dolinsek family to ensure its future as a public park, specifically allows skiing across the parcel, as long as it does not interfere with the park usage.

The extent of AVLT’s involvement with the Lift One development proposal, before voters now, has been to ensure that the proposed plans do not violate the terms or intent of the conservation easement. We have worked with the city and a representative for Josephine Dolinsek to ensure that the limited amount of skiing proposed across part of the parcel does not threaten its future as “Dolinsek Gardens,” nor allow the property to become just another part of the ski area.

Beyond this, AVLT takes no position on the Lift One proposal. I hope this answers any questions. We wish the voters of Aspen a successful outcome, whichever you should choose.

Suzanne Stephens

Executive director, Aspen Valley Land Trust