Plan to buy remote Sweetwater Lake and transfer it to Forest Service gets boost from Eagle County communities
Conservationists pushing to buy and protect Sweetwater Lake are nearing $1 million in donations, as the White River National Forest vies for as much as $8.5 million in support from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust is working to raise $3.5 million for the $9 million purchase of the 488-acre, privately-owned property surrounded by National Forest land.
The trust is working with the Conservation Fund and the Forest Service to buy the Sweetwater Lake Resort property and make it part of the White River National Forest.
Eagle County has directed $500,000 toward the effort, while the town of Gypsum has given $20,000 and Eagle has given $10,000. An anonymous donor last month gave $200,000.
“It’s pretty extraordinary to see local governments commit funding for a project that will go, essentially, to a federal agency,” said Justin Spring, project manager with the Conservation Fund’s Colorado office. “I think that reflects the importance of this property to local communities.”
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Gore Creek since 2013 has been listed on the state’s list of “impaired waterways.” Several years of work are paying off, but getting off the list has become more difficult.