~ by Steve VanDyke, Head Golf Professional, Aspen Glen Club, Carbondale, CO
The bald eagle’s nest on the tenth hole at Aspen Glen dates back to 1953 and there is anecdotal evidence that the nest was used in the mid 70’s according to Division Of Wildlife officer John Groves. From the late 1970’s the nest has been used, but it wasn’t until 2003 that there is evidence of bald eagles nesting and not until 2004 that the “Aspen Glen” eagles first successfully hatched a pair of offspring. That inaugural year one eaglet fell from the nesting and while it held on for a short time it was eventually euthanized at a facility in Grand Junction.
From 2004 to 2011 the Aspen Glen bald eagles have successfully hatched eaglets every year and to date there have been 18 eaglets hatched over the course of the last 8 years. In 2005 and 2006 the DOW banded the eaglets to be tracked for future reference and in 2008 and 2010 the Aspen Glen bald eagles hatched 3 eaglets. M0027
The Aspen Glen Club is extremely unique because we have one of the only active bald eagle’s nest in the lower 48 on an operating golf course. We also are only allowed to play 17 holes of this championship golf course while the eagles are present and until the eaglets have “fledged” the nest due to the resolution between the Aspen Glen Company and Garfield County Commissioners in 1992.
This resolution created a “buffer zone” around the nest where there is to be no construction of dwelling units or human activities. A timing restriction was also placed on the 10th hole that states if eagles are present the hole may be played from July 1 to December 1, but may be played earlier if there is nest abandonment and young have fledged.
All said, having an active bald eagle’s nest at Aspen Glen is unique and has become a signature attraction for Members and Guests alike. While this wildlife activity can be a nuisance to golfers at Aspen Glen having to play a shortened round early in the season it is something that Members can take pride in their club protecting a national symbol. This year we again hope to have hole #10 open by early June.