Letter: Congratulations on the Windstar sale | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Congratulations on the Windstar sale


Congratulations on the Windstar sale

Dear Editor:

It’s not often that a company can raise $1 million of other people’s money — with the promise to protect a nature preserve (Windstar) in perpetuity — then use that $1 million to buy into an ownership stake, then flip the property for $8.5 million a few years later. That should get you on the cover of “Real Estate Developer Deals Weekly.”

Forget that John Denver intended Windstar to be his legacy to us, to promote education and appreciation of our environment. I’m sure that if he were alive, he would say, “No, what I meant was, this would be a great asset for Rocky Mountain Institute to sell to a billionaire who will turn it into private property, so the institute can get $8 million to save the world by telling companies to insulate their boilers and windows.”

All I can say is that I’ve always admired you as a PR/fund-raising organization — but this is genius. To raise money based on trust, then betray that trust (at least mine) by selling the thing you promised to preserve, and then get an article saying “Well, John would have wanted it that way …” Wow. Houdini couldn’t have done a better job!

So, my hat’s off to you — you get to continue saving the world through real estate deals while, the rest of us Colorado rubes discover that the “public access” to Windstar, like “public access” to the California public beaches, means “no access” unless you drop in by helicopter … and that we were wrong about John’s dream for Windstar … and that we’re just naive, idealistic idiots in a practical, grown-up Rocky Mountain Institute world.

Thanks for being such a good caretaker of John’s vision. We’ll miss you when you go to “save” Basalt.

Also, I’ve always secretly felt that Old Snowmass needs more billionaire private properties with “Do Not Trespass” signs. That’s what Old Snowmass is all about, right? Windstar was conflicting with that vibe, with all of its “open to everyone” stuff. Thanks for helping the community keep the status quo.

Deborah Barton


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