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Trust Our Land: The Local Businesses Protecting Lands & Watersheds

by Bergen Tjossem



Trust Our Land: The Local Businesses Protecting Lands & Watersheds

By Bergen Tjossem


It’s been almost 5 years since Sunrise Minturn, Alpine Quest Sports, and Minturn Anglers started contributing on a daily basis to the Land & Rivers Fund, launching the program’s official start. Since then, they and many others have contributed over $583,000 to the Fund.


Why do they do it? From Up the Creek to Ketsol Apparel, businesses contribute to the Fund because it directly pays for the protection and stewardship of our local lands, watersheds, wildlife habitats, drinking water, recreational access, and open spaces. On top of that, it funds a scholarship for a local high school senior heading towards a career path in environmental science, natural resource management, or related fields. Participating businesses understand that protecting the lands and rivers that our community depends on, that our economy depends on, is just good business.


The Fund was founded by a partnership between the Eagle Valley Land Trust (EVLT) and the Eagle River Watershed Council (ERWC) in 2018, a joint venture that’s stronger than ever. While each organization focuses on protecting different aspects of our local landscape, their missions are complimentary. Plus, they both depend on community support to make their work a reality. Every project that the organizations have worked on or completed in the last five years has been propelled by these participating businesses. From conserving Sweetwater Lake, to creating a system to alert subscribers to high water temperatures, to stewarding 14,000 protected acres in Eagle County, to removing over 15 tons of trash from Eagle County roadways annually, Land & Rivers dollars have helped make it happen.


Over the past year, The Watershed Council has been focused on growing awareness of and taking action on water quality and quantity issues in this headwaters region. From the fourth-annual Eagle River Water Festival, which brought together 420 of the county’s fifth-graders to its monthly RiverWatch water monitoring program, the nonprofit is committed to the protection of local waterways. The Land Trust, meanwhile, has been working on a variety of new land conservation projects, supporting Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the White River National Forest with short term management of Sweetwater Lake, working with partners to protect wildlife in Eagle County, and working on new community conservation initiatives. 


“Businesses find it to be a simple way to make a difference every single day,” said Sue Nikolai, the Land & Rivers program director, who has been working with businesses since the spring of 2019 to implement the program. “A tiny donation, assessed to the customer at the point of sale, adds up quickly when you consider how many businesses are doing it every day. The Fund contributes impressive amounts to EVLT and the Watershed Council every quarter. We really can’t thank these businesses enough for their commitment to our community.”


Local businesses protecting local natural resources is a movement that makes an impact. To support these businesses, the Land & Rivers Fund is launching its second annual shop local campaign through December. By choosing Land & Rivers Businesses for your holiday shopping needs, you’re also protecting the lands and rivers that help our community thrive.


Participating Businesses Include:

 714 Home

A Good Sport

Alpine Quest Sports

ANB Bank

Balance Point Construction

Bishop Shreds

Boot Mechanics

Ethos Landscaping

Everyday Outfitters

Fancy Pansy

Fill & Refill

Form Attainment Studios

Inner Light Juice

Jerry Sibley Plumbing


Made the Cut

Main Street Grill

Maker and Stitch

Mauka Poke Bar

Minturn Anglers

Motley Fabric

North Coast Originals

Roam Restaurant

R Farmers’ Market

Robert Schilling-Coldwell Banker

Sendy Sauce

Sunrise/Moonrise Minturn

Synergy Center for Wellness

The Bunkhouse

Trick Threads

Up the Creek

UPS Stores

Vail Fine Wines

Yoga Off Broadway


Is your business, or one you know of, interested in making a conservation impact easily every day? Contact Sue at to sign up for the program, which is adaptable to any business model, in minutes.

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