The Clark’s legacy

The Valley Housing Fund (formerly the Gunnison Valley Housing Foundation) was founded in 2010 with the vision, direction and financial contribution of Butch and Judy Clark, along with a volunteer board of directors. 

The Clarks moved to the Gunnison Valley in the 1960s. Over time, they noticed that local housing options were becoming out of reach for many residents, and they knew this trend would accelerate as the tourism economy continued to grow. As strong environmentalists also dedicated to housing, they envisioned a creative way to turn their 1,000-acre private ranch into public lands and donate the proceeds to affordable housing projects closer to existing population hubs.

Through two complex land swaps, the Clark’s ranchlands were conserved for public recreational use by “selling” ownership to the US Forest Service, and then donating the proceeds to VHF in 2015 and 2020. Many partners were involved in these efforts, including the Trust for Public Land and the Crested Butte Land Trust.

The Clark’s contributions to our organization also included the donation of their historic cabin in the Lost Canyon. Over the years, they hosted legendary Midsummer’s Eve parties at the Clark Cabin, and it has served as a gathering and event space for community members and leaders since its construction in 1932.