SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. — The 950-acre property that John Denver bought in the late 1970s as headquarters for his Windstar Foundation is being sold, a move seen by some environmentalists as the unofficial end to the singer’s vision to protect some of the land west of Aspen from being overrun by developers.
The property in Old Snowmass is under contract to be sold to a private buyer. The conservancy placed the property on the market in September for $13 million. The foundation was dissolved last fall.
The Windstar Land Conservancy was founded in 1996 by the Windstar Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Institute to own and manage the land Denver loved. The institute still operates an office on the property for about 20 employees.
According to the Aspen Times, foundation officials want to use the money to help the institute achieve its goal of opening a state-of-the-art green office building in Basalt, which is about 18 miles northwest of Aspen.
Denver moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in the late 1960s and celebrated the Aspen area in such songs as “Rocky Mountain High.” He died Oct. 12, 1997, when the plane he was piloting crashed into California’s Monterey Bay.
Institute Executive Director Marty Pickett said the sale is scheduled to be completed by the end of April. An agreement with the potential buyer will allow the institute to maintain its offices there for two years. Pickett said the Basalt office probably won’t be completed by that time and they will have to find an interim site.
A conservation easement still protects about 930 acres under the direction of The Aspen Valley Land Trust and Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.