Pitkin County Open Space and Trails has placed a 36-acre parcel in the Roaring Fork Gorge under contract for its appraised price of $1.15 million.
The Moore Family property, a key private inholding separating the two pieces of the Airport Ranch Open Space outside of Aspen, extends from Highway 82 across the river gorge, encompassing a stretch of the Roaring Fork River and the Rio Grande Trail.
Pitkin County commissioners will take up the purchase at their May 14 meeting, with final action scheduled on May 28. The Open Space and Trails board of trustees will consider the purchase when they meet for an annual retreat on May 15.
The Roaring Fork Gorge Management Plan, adopted late last year by the open space board and accepted by the commissioners, spurred discussions with Tommy Moore, representing the family that has long owned the parcel, said Dale Will, Open Space and Trails executive director.
“One of the things we heard from citizens was the need to bring all of the gorge into public ownership,” Will said. “We immediately reached out to Tommy Moore to initiate a discussion. He was receptive to the idea of carving off this piece.”
"I am quite pleased that this section of the Roaring Fork River gorge will now become permanent open space," Moore said.
The parcel has long seen public use, though it is not currently public property. It is part of a deep gorge cut by the Roaring Fork River north of Aspen, where much of the land has already been protected as open space. The gorge sees use by anglers, boaters and those who bike, walk and run on the Rio Grande Trail, a former railroad corridor that parallels the river.