Mountain News 

From Enron shareholders to Aspen non-profits

ASPEN, Colo. — The name Carnegie has connotations of both good and bad. The steel magnate of the 19 th century, Andrew Carnegie was known as a repressor of the working man. But even today, public libraries bearing his name are found across the land.

In Aspen, a similar conundrum has taken place. There, convicted Enron thief Kenneth Lay and his wife, Linda, owned homes as recently as 2003 and gave lavishly to some two-dozen non-profits in the Roaring Fork Valley, points out The Denver Post.

Among the major beneficiaries was the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, which received $440,000 of the $550,000 pledged by the Lay Family Foundation. He also gave at least $100,000 to the Aspen Music Festival and School, and as recently as last year, gave money to other schools and a local radio station.

Tom Cardamone, of the environmental program, said the board of directors talked about the propriety of accepting money from an accused swindler. "Essentially, the conclusion was that this isn’t a gift from an individual. It’s a gift from a family foundation, and just because there’s a spotlight on an individual associated with it doesn’t make it wrong," he told The Post.

"I’m not sure I’d like to begin necessarily looking too deeply," said Aspen Public Radio’s executive director, Brent Gardner-Smith. "Many nonprofit organizations don’t like to look at the purity of people’s funds."

The Lays bought four homes, beginning in 1991, at a cost of $17.5 million. They were sold for $23.9 million in 2002-03.

Skier days rise 5.8 per cent

DENVER, Colo. — Skier days in the United States are expected to hit 58.8 million before the schussing is complete this summer. That’s up 3.3 per cent from last year and a new record, although the growth in skiing continues to lag the general population growth.

Within the Rocky Mountains, the increase was 5.8 per cent. Most areas of the country have good snow, with the exception of the Northeast and – within the West – Southern Colorado and New Mexico.

Meanwhile, commercial skiing in Colorado ended this past weekend at Arapahoe Basin, although it continues at California’s Mammoth Mountain, Oregon’s Mount Hood, and at Whistler-Blackcomb.

Rails to trails to open space

PARK CITY, Utah — Park City continues to embellish its network of hiking and biking trails and designated open-space parcels.

The latest news is that the Union Pacific railroad line into Park City has been included in a network of national designated recreation trails. The last 1,000 feet of the 30-mile trail was purchased from the Union Pacific in 2000, and paving is now being completed. In addition, city officials are considering asking voters in November for additional tax revenues for continued acquisition of open space.

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