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Give Ascendigo a chance

As parents of a 12-year-old girl with Down syndrome, we feel compelled to write in support of Ascendigo Ranch.

We know that Ascendigo will welcome our daughter to participate in activities there even though she does not have a diagnosis of autism. Families like ours rely on support and guidance from local organizations like Ascendigo as this valley is still lacking in resources for families such as ours. Ascendigo has an opportunity to strengthen our community and bring people together even more by building this educational ranch. That is the hope really, that our daughter and others who may be different, can find a place in our community where they can contribute meaningfully, find friends and be happy.

Amid some questionable arguments about the true nature of Ascendigo as an organization, and well-meaning but unwittingly ableist concerns about the participants’ ability to evacuate in the event of wildfire, every single opponent has praised the value of Ascendigo’s program and the importance of providing such services in our valley … just not in their backyard.



At the heart of the opposition to this project is the fear of a loss of the quiet rural feel of Missouri Heights that drew the neighbors to move to this area. If you talk to the ranchers who have lived on Missouri Heights forever, they feel the same way about all of the opponents’ “ranchettes” that have sprung up over the past 30 years.

The cluster design of the buildings leaves the majority of the 126 acres undeveloped, maintaining the rural feel so much better than 21 homes evenly spaced would (we suspect the resident wildlife would strongly agree!).



We firmly believe that once completed, neighbors will grow to appreciate the way Ascendigo Ranch will actually protect the rural feel of Missouri Heights and feel proud to have a facility in their community that allows people differently abled to them to experience the enrichment and joy of adventures in nature that the majority of us take for granted.

We encourage the Garfield Board of County Commissioners to approve this important resource.

Deborah and Julian Hardaker

Glenwood Springs


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