Staff & Volunteers

Karin Teague, Executive Director

Karin Teague has joined the Independence Pass Foundation as its new Executive Director. An outdoor adventure and nature writer and former environmental attorney, Karin has worked with numerous Roaring Fork Valley conservation nonprofit organizations. She brings with her a passion for the alpine environment, its flora and fauna, and the educational and recreational opportunities it offers the public.

Teague succeeds Mark Fuller, who guided IPF through nearly two decades of accomplishments on the Pass. Chief among these were the successful stabilization and revegetated the eroding slopes above and below the road near the summit of the Pass. Stopping the erosion and revegetating the barren slopes were essential to preserving the health of the Roaring Fork River headwaters.

Teague looks forward to carrying on the legacy of Aspen educator and environmental icon Bob Lewis. Bob founded IPF in 1989 with the dream of restoring the Pass to its pre-highway construction beauty and ecological health.

“The Pass is a national treasure that we are extraordinarily lucky and privileged to call our backyard,” said Teague. “I consider it the privilege of a lifetime to take on the stewardship of this magnificent landscape and to share its inspiring natural and human history.”

Karin’s selection as IPF’s new Executive Director was announced at a special event held at the home of IPF Board member Bill Gruenberg and his wife Joyce on March 18, 2015. Karin succeeds Mark Fuller who followed founder IPF Bob Lewis as Executive Director in 1996.

Aspen Country Day School service day, September 2015

Volunteers and supportive, enthusiastic partners are the lifeblood of the Independence Pass Foundation as they are with so many nonprofit organizations. Our work is a collaborative effort that we are privileged to lead, and we are pleased to have this opportunity to recognize those organizations and individuals who provide essential assistance.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is the agency responsible for maintaining Hwy. 82 over the Pass, but in addition it provides important help with all of our projects, including the Ride for the Pass. CDOT is also generous with technical assistance on projects such as the Winter Gate improvements that will get underway in 2015.

Local schools have been working with IPF on both educational and field projects for many years. In 2015, IPF was delighted to welcome the Aspen Community School back to the fold, after a couple decades hiatus, planting trees and perennial flowers and learning about the ecology of the Pass, along with the Aspen Middle School and Aspen Country Day School. In September of 2015, these three schools spent five days planting trees across from the Independence ghost town, in order to stabilize the soil and revegetate slopes denuded of trees and plants by a natural landslide (cleared and stabilized by IPF) several years ago. Students also revegetates the disturbed area around the Weller Lake Trailhead where the old bridge was removed, and along the Weller Curve.

The U.S. Forest Service oversees the White River National Forest, including the Independence Pass corridor and surrounding wilderness. In 2015, the Forest Service worked closely with IPF to facilitate field projects and to help plan for future projects such as the Winter Gate improvements. The Forest Service has responsibility for vast landscapes in the West, and we appreciate the time and effort they contribute to IPF.

The many volunteers who work with IPF range from our Ride for the Pass helpers to other nonprofit groups and organizations that support IPF's revegetation and educational projects. In 2015, the Jaywalker Lodge, Big Kids Rule and numerous volunteers all contributed to IPF activities, including the installation of four interpretive signs at the summit, eradicating invasive weeds, and planting trees along the restoration area across from the upper Lost Man Trail.

In 2015, volunteers contributed 1,085 hours and Buena Vista correctional facility inmates performed 1,400 service hours on behalf of IPF. Thanks to volunteers, the slopes throughout the Independence Pass corridor are greener with every passing year. We are deeply grateful for the assistance provided by our loyal partners and supporters.