Aspen, in collaboration with Pitkin County and local property owner Bob Olson, has successfully completed a strategic land exchange and conservation easement transaction. This accomplishment, approved from Ballot Question 2B by Aspen voters in 2021, preserves the parcel of land known as the Pride of Aspen. This effort preserves the existing landscape while granting the public access to nearly 19.3 acres of Shadow Mountain for recreational enjoyment and wildlife conservation.
The completion of this exchange marks a significant milestone in the city and county’s commitment to conserve the Pride of Aspen mining claims, once owned by Hans Graminger. The approval of Ballot Question 2B allowed for this exchange which includes 4,000 sq. ft. of city-owned land and a 2000 sq. ft. landscape easement, in exchange for a conservation easement covering the entire 19.329 acres.
Over the past two years, dedicated staff members collaborated with Olson to navigate this exchange. At the end of this process in late December, the conservation easement was transferred to Pitkin County, and ownership of the property was conveyed to the city of Aspen. This property significantly expands the city’s public land portfolio without any financial expenditure.
“This collaborative effort has allowed us to conserve a missing piece of Shadow Mountain. We are thrilled to be able to add nearly 20 acres of open space to the city’s portfolio and to ensure that the Shadow Mountain remains a prominent part of the natural landscape bordering Aspen.” said Matt Kuhn, Aspen’s Parks and Open Space director. “We look forward to working closely with our partners at Pitkin County and engaging with the community in the coming months to develop thoughtful management strategies for this open space.”
The Pride of Aspen comprises a substantial portion of Shadow Mountain, further expanding the network of conserved lands on the slopes of Aspen Mountain. With the transfer of land ownership to the city, staff members will collaborate with the county in the coming year to develop management strategies and initiate the drafting of an open space management plan for the property.
By: The Aspen Times I January 12, 2024