Mountain Rescue Aspen eyes new digs

Woman group saved in 1977 donates 'substantial gift' for new headquarters

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenSeptember 13, 2012
Mountain Rescue Aspen may have found a new home.

The all-volunteer search-and-rescue group has placed a property across Highway 82 from Sardy Field under contract. The property, currently home to the Aspen branch of the Planted Earth nursery, has been listed for sale "for some time," according to a Mountain Rescue Aspen press release. The organization's leaders say the new property, if the deal is finalized, would provide an important educational facility for locals and visitors.

“We are very excited about this opportunity,” Douglas Paley, president of Mountain Rescue Aspen, said in a press release. “We still have a lot of work ahead of us to find local supporters to help this project reach completion.”

Mountain Rescue Aspen soon plans to announce naming opportunities for the planned new facility and it will be developing a campaign for year-end philanthropic contributions.

The group currently operates out of the small Rossetter Cabin on Main Street in the city of Aspen. Mountain Rescue Aspen officials say they have outgrown the cabin where they've operated out of since 1965. The team's vehicles are often parked off site at volunteers' homes, on local streets and on the U.S. Forest Service parking lot near the S-Curve. The U.S. Forest Service recently announced it is putting some of its Aspen properties on the market.
Mountain Rescue Aspen in action.
Photo via Mountain Rescue Aspen

Mountain Rescue Aspen has no tax base or mill levy and relies on individual donations and periodic grants for all of its vehicles, equipment, training, insurance and operational costs.

Recently, Lynda Cameron committed "a substantial gift in the name of her father" to help the organization that helped her family. In 1977, C.B. Cameron was killed in a private plane crash and Mountain Rescue Aspen rescued his daughter, Lynda, and four others from the crash site, according to the Mountain Rescue Aspen press release. Cameron's donation will help the volunteer group obtain the new property and it will partially fund a new headquarters.

A charitable trust Ms. Cameron established placed the new property under contract.

She and Mountain Rescue Aspen's board of directors are evaluating whether the property fits within the zoning, planning and design parameters they desire for a new headquarters. The group has been working with Charles Cunniffe Architects and Stan Clauson Land Planners to develop a plan, the press release said, and outreach meetings to local homeowner associations will be scheduled. The plan requires a public rezoning process

Mountain Rescue Aspen conducts search-and-rescue missions on behalf and under the authority of the Pitkin County sheriff, sometimes aids other counties, and provides medical and tactical support for non-backcountry incidents.

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