Reflections – Looking Back to 2008

Ethan Solomon camping on the Chicken & New Deal Mining Claims 1968         


Telluride Foundation Grant Aids Donation, January 2008


RIDGWAY- The owners of two patented mining claims near Red Mountain Pass have donated the land to the Trust for Land Restoration. The deal closed December 29, 2008.  The Chicken and New Deal claims total 20 acres of in-holdings within the National Forest.  They are located in Ouray County, on the north side of Red Mountain Pass, west of US 550, in Commodore Gulch. TLR has retired the development rights from the property and will own and manage them as nature reserves within the National Forest.  They are open to the public for passive recreation such as hiking, picnicking and skiing.   

 “We appreciate the generosity and foresightedness of the owners that made this project a reality for TLR.” added Willits.  “Dave Kupperman, Fred Kabat, and Arthur Solomon were college buddies from Illinois when they found the property in the early 1970s.  They kept up the taxes all these years, thinking they’d return and build a cabin. Recently they had a change of heart, deciding the property really was too beautiful and too unique to be built upon. What a great deal.  The place and the public are the winners here.”

Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Telluride Foundation, an in-kind donation valued at $3,000 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, over $2,000 donated by TLR supporters, and $500 donated by one of the owners, we were able to close and take title to the property. Now it’s all of ours to appreciate and enjoy.  More importantly, the deer, elk, bear, bobcats, marmots, rodents and birds won’t ever have a road or a cabin messing up their home. 


We would like to dedicate the donation of the Chicken and New Deal patented mining claims to the memory of Ethan Solomon. We would like to think that his love of the outdoors came in part from trips with his parents to this land.  The current owners purchased this property while graduate students at the University of Illinois about 40 years ago.  On a trip to Colorado Arthur Solomon learned that that there were old mining claims for sale.  Fran, the sales person and County Clerk, drove Arthur around in a 4-wheel drive jeep, showing him a number of claims. Nothing impressed him until he saw the Chicken and New Deal. What Arthur saw was breathtaking. These claims were right across the Commodore Gulch from the Barstow mine. The acreage was in the rough shape of a V, the vertex of which was at a relatively flat spot by a creek that marked the valley that contained the mines. Arthur was swept over with love for the land and convinced David Kupperman and Fred Kabat to join in the purchase. 

The idea of owning this land served as a basis of many stories through the years.  While we have all been there at least once, Arthur spent the most time there.  Ethan was four years old when he first camped on the land. We all cannot think of a more fitting tribute than to conserve this beautiful site in memory of Ethan Solomon.

Arthur Solomon, Dave Kupperman, and Fred Kabat


View of Chicken and New Deal Mining Claims from US 550