Word on the street is that the 957-acre property John Denver bought in Old Snowmass in the 70's for his conservation organization, the Windstar Foundation, has just sold to a private buyer. No buyer or sale price has yet been revealed, but the property had been listed in September for $13.5 million. About 927 acres of the property have a conservation easement placed on them that restricts their use to maintaining wildlife habitat, irrigation, and agriculture, limiting any potential development to 30 acres.
Denver founded the Windstar Foundation in 1976 as a global environmental education non-profit, and bought the ranch as its headquarters. He had a vision for a 20,000 square foot research center, office building, and employee housing for foundation workers, but the organization began to fizzle after Denver's death and did so further when Denver's original partner, Tom Crum, told them Denver wanted the organization disbanded and its work transferred to local partners after his death. The organization was disbanded last fall around the same time as the property went up on the market.
The sale of the ranch will be split between the Rocky Mountain Institute, a visionary energy efficiency think tank, and the John Denver Aspenglow Fund, which will support local causes Denver believed in. The Institute unsuccessfully tried to get the original development plan approved in 2004, but will now instead use the funds to build a state-of-the-art green headquarters in a more convenient downvalley location in Basalt. The conservation easement placed on the land was managed jointly by the Institute and Windstar. The easement itself is set into perpetuity, and also permits public access along a walkway known as Windwalker's Ditch, although public parking for access to the trail will need to be negotiated.