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WE ARE FOR building on our history and preserving our heritage.

The Eagle Valley Land Trust was founded in 1981 by ranching advocate and conservationist Roger Tilkemeier. Originally called the Eagle County Land Conservancy, the organization became the Eagle Valley Land Trust in 1982 as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization supported entirely by charitable contributions. EVLT was the third land trust established in the state of Colorado.


1981 – 1997
Johnson ranching family in the Brush Creek area of Eagle, Colorado.

The Eagle Valley Land Trust was operated solely by a group of volunteer conservationists who served on the Board of Directors. They created awareness of the need for conservation and educated the public about the benefits of land management, wildlife habitat protection and the use of conservation easements.

During this time, they accepted the first donations of land from the Johnson ranching family in the Brush Creek area of Eagle, Colorado.

Johnson Family lands conservation easement.

The Johnson Family lands were placed into conservation easement, the first recorded conservation easement for the Eagle Valley Land Trust. Board President Terrill Knight added several new board members and began a fundraising campaign to hire a full-time professional staff member.

Great Outdoors Colorado

EVLT was awarded a grant by the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund, which was matched by local dollars to complete the funding necessary to hire an Executive Director to lead the organization.

1997 – 2001

Brad Udall, son of U.S. Congressman Mo Udall and nephew of U. S. Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, became EVLT’s first Executive Director. Under his leadership, the Land Trust completed several significant projects, including the permanent protection of the Webster Ranch, the first conservation easement placed in the pristine Lake Creek Valley, an early achievement the Land Trust continues to build upon to this day with our “We Like Lake Creek!” campaign.

In 2000, we were honored by the Eagle County Soil Conservation District for our “numerous contributions to the field of soil and water conservation.”

During Udall’s tenure, nearly 2,000 acres of private property were protected with conservation easements and EVLT was successful in the public acquisition of more than 1,800 acres along East and West Brush Creek which became part of Sylvan Lake State Park.

President Emeritus, Dr. Thomas Steinberg, EVLT

Driven by the leadership of long-time supporter Diana Cecala and President Emeritus, Dr. Thomas Steinberg, EVLT led a community-wide effort to create a dedicated source of funds at the county level to acquire open space and conserve it for the benefit of the citizens of Eagle County. A citizen-drafted ballot initiative was undertaken, and in the Fall of 2002, Referendum 1H was passed to establish a dedicated mill levy specifically ear-marked for open space projects in our community. 


Eagle County Commissioners established the Eagle County Open Space Program which is funded annually by the mill levy authorized by the voters.


From 2004 to 2008, EVLT added 14 conservation easements to the community portfolio of permanently protected land, consisting of more than 4,000 acres conserved forever. Additionally, the Eagle River Preserve was created, a 72-acre conservation easement with over a mile of publicly accessible river frontage, created from the former Eaton Family Ranch.

Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission’s logo

EVLT was selected to be one of 22 land trusts to participate in the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission’s pilot program. 

Land Trust Alliance

EVLT became one of the first land trusts to be awarded national accreditation by the Land Trust Alliance. The accreditation seal is awarded to land trusts that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.


Kara Heide was named Executive Director of EVLT. The annual conservation easement monitoring program and land stewardship program were expanded. Community outreach, public awareness, and conservation education became a strong focus.


EVLT added five new conservation easements, totaling more than 350 acres of publicly accessible lands. The hallmark of these efforts was the successful Homestead Conservation and Public Recreation Project, which provides extensive public trail systems and ‘front door’ access points directly from local neighborhoods into the White River National Forest. This was  Phase II of the Land Trust’s “We Like Lake Creek!” campaign to create a mosaic of conservation in the Lake Creek region.

We received the Jane Silverstein Ries Award for our “pioneering sense of awareness and stewardship of land use values in the Rocky Mountain region”.  And we were named the “Small Non Profit of the Year” by the Vail Valley Partnership.


From 2013 to 2014, EVLT added four new conservation easements, totaling more than 930 acres of conserved land for Eagle county residents and visitors. Three of these conservation easements include Duck Pond, Horn Ranch Conveyance, and the West Avon Preserve.

Jim Daus, Executive Director at the Eagle Valley Land Trust.

In 2014, Jim Daus was named the new Executive Director at the Eagle Valley Land Trust. Read this story about Jim’s accomplishments during his four years at our helm.


Jessica Foulis took over as Executive Director in January of 2020.  See her vision for EVLT.


The Eagle Valley Land Trust annually stewards, monitors, and inspects over 14,000 acres of land conserved for the benefit of our county, its residents, and our guests in the greater Eagle River Valley and surrounding counties. Currently, the Land Trust holds conservation easements on 38 properties that include working ranches, scenic viewsheds, riparian and wildlife habitats, and community accessible open space. These properties stretch from East Vail to the entrance of Glenwood Canyon and from Tennessee Pass near Leadville to Yarmony Mountain near the Routt County border.

EVLT continues to actively pursue new conservation projects by identifying future lands for protection within our mountain community so that the land we love will be here FOREVER. FOR ALL.