Save the Lake FAQ Page

Where does my donation go?

Your donation is placed in the Save The Lake Campaign Fund, held by the Eagle Valley Land Trust. All funds collected before June 15th, 2020 were transferred to The Conservation Fund (TCF) and used to purchase the property from the previous owners. Funds collected by the Save The Lake campaign after June 15, 2020 will be held by EVLT until the USFS purchases the property from TCF. These funds, in combination with funding allocated by the Land & Water Conservation Fund, will be used to purchase the property from TCF and transfer it to the USFS. Any funds remaining after the transfer will be used to activate, enhance, and steward the Sweetwater Lake property in partnership with USFS and TCF, which may include:

  • Creating new public recreational access to Sweetwater Lake for fishing, horseback riding, boating, and camping.
  • Opening access to surrounding public lands including Flat Tops Wilderness, White River National Forest (the most visited National Forest in the U.S.), and the Ute trail.
  • Conserving critical habitat for elk, deer, osprey, bald eagles, and other wildlife.
  • Protecting the Upper Colorado Watershed
  • Ensuring public access to the historic Ute Cave
What happens to my donation if the project isn’t completed?

EVLT and TCF will continue to apply for funding through the USFS, or potentially other vendors, even if this year’s acquisition doesn’t materialize. Your donation will go towards completing this project, regardless of how we get there.

Will the lake be available to the public?

Yes. Once secured and transferred to the USFS, the agency aims to protect the natural and cultural resources while ensuring and enhancing public access. TCF, EVLT, and the USFS are currently in the process of designing management concepts to achieve the long-term vision for the property.

Will the current resort be allowed to continue business operations?

The USFS cannot commit to granting a special use permit on lands they are about to acquire. However, the USFS has recognized the overwhelming public support for the existing lodge through numerous letters of support. If acquired, the USFS will undergo due diligence through the NEPA process to determine the appropriate vision for the Sweetwater Property.

Is there recognition for donors?

Yes, all donors to the Save the Lake Campaign are recognized here.

What is The Conservation Fund?

The Conservation Fund is an American environmental non-profit with a dual charter to pursue environmental preservation and economic development. Since its founding in 1985, the organization has protected more than 7 million acres of land and water in all 50 states, including parks, historic battlefields, and wild areas. The Fund works with community and government leaders, businesses, landowners, conservation nonprofits and other partners to create innovative solutions that integrate economic and environmental objectives. The Fund also works with communities to strategically plan development and green space and offer training in conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources.

What is the Land and Water Conservation Fund?

Created by Congress in 1964, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was a bipartisan commitment to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. National parks like Rocky Mountain, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains, as well as national wildlife refuges, national forests, rivers and lakes, community parks, trails, and ball fields in every one of our 50 states were set aside for Americans to enjoy thanks to federal funds from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

It was a simple idea: use revenues from the depletion of one natural resource – offshore oil and gas – to support the conservation of another precious resource – our land and water. Every year, $900 million in royalties paid by energy companies drilling for oil and gas on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) are put into this fund. The money is intended to protect national parks, areas around rivers and lakes, national forests, and national wildlife refuges from development, and to provide matching grants for state and local parks and recreation projects.  Over the years, LWCF has also grown and evolved to include grants to protect working forests, wildlife habitat, critical drinking water supplies and disappearing battlefields, as well as increased use of easements.