For over thirty years, the Snowmass Capitol Creek Caucus has worked to protect the remarkable place commonly known as “Old Snowmass.” The valley, carved out of the Elk Mountains by Snowmass Creek and Capitol Creek, is framed by the snow-capped peaks of the Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness. Private land within the two drainages features spruce/fir forests, aspen groves, sage meadows, and several large intact ranches that recall the splendor of the Old West. Mixed in are several subdivisions that provide critical housing to Pitkin County residents.
The Caucus was formed in the 1970’s in response to a Forest Service proposal for extensive logging in the East Sopris Creek drainage. In 1978, the approval and construction of a trans-basin water diversion from the main stem of Snowmass Creek to Snowmass Village required us to gain expertise in the scientific and legal aspects of stream protection. The real estate boom of the 1990’s created huge pressure on the remaining undeveloped lands of Pitkin County, and the Caucus became increasingly involved in land use planning.
In 2003, the Caucus completed a comprehensive Master Plan to guide land use throughout the Snowmass and Capitol Creek Valleys. The plan was adopted as law by Pitkin County and has become the cornerstone of our efforts to preserve the unique rural character and ecological integrity of this place.
The special qualities we value include the natural watersheds, water quality and quantity in Snowmass and Capitol Creeks and their tributaries, undisturbed expanses of native vegetation and riparian corridors, and wildlife habitat. We experience our valleys through views of open meadows, colorful hillsides, sharp ridgelines, and majestic peaks. Agriculture is recognized as a valued resource and a means to preserve the open character of our valleys, and we support using a range of techniques to ensure its continued viability. In particular, we look to land conservation tools to implement protection of the open space of our area. While recreational opportunities abound within and adjacent to our area, we wish to maintain the primitive nature of these experiences. We support limiting growth in our valleys, consistent with these core values. And we are dedicated to maintaining healthy riparian ecosystems of the mountain streams that flow through this land.
We need your help! Many of our conservation activities require paid consultants, from land use planners to water experts. Please give to our annual fund to keep our valleys healthy and beautiful.
Get involved! You are invited to join our board, help with planning, count fish, participate in the annual road clean up, or anything else you might think of.