Trust Our Land: Land & Rivers Fund businesses make local conservation possible |

Trust Our Land: Land & Rivers Fund businesses make local conservation possible

Bergen Tjossem
Trust Our Land
Local businesses participating in the Land & Rivers Fund allow the Eagle River Watershed Council and Eagle Valley Land Trust to protect land and rivers in our community.
Todd Winslow Pierce/Courtesy photo

There’s been a pronounced uptick in the use and enjoyment of our public lands and waterways over the last two years, and that’s a good thing; it means that more people in our community feel empowered to enjoy the benefits that nature has to offer, both physical and mental. It also means that more conservation is critical to keep up with demand.

We doubt that anybody is under the impression that conserving our natural resources is easy, quick or cheap. On the contrary, conservation takes a community.

Fortunately, conservation in the Eagle River Valley has an important ally — local businesses. The Land & Rivers Fund, a collaboration between the Eagle Valley Land Trust and the Eagle River Watershed Council, was created four years ago based on two simple principles: Our rivers and lands drive our local economy forward, and protecting these resources is in the best interest of our community.

You’ve likely noticed the Land & Rivers Fund signs at some of your favorite local institutions. Typically, Land & Rivers Fund businesses add an optional 1% charge at checkout. That 1% adds up quickly: 1% on a $10 purchase is just 10¢, but that simple equation, multiplied by 39 businesses dedicated to the natural bounty of our community 365 days a year, adds up.

So far this year, the Land & Rivers Fund has received $87,387 that will be put to work protecting land and waterways in Eagle County. In addition, these funds provide an annual scholarship to a local graduating senior pursuing a degree in environmental science or sustainability, natural resources, or a related field.

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“Businesses across Eagle County have continued to reach out about joining the program for a bunch of different reasons. For some, it’s all about helping to protect the lands and rivers that allow their businesses to thrive. For others, it’s a way to give back to their community. And of course there’s the competitive marketing edge that the program provides, especially new businesses that are working to build a name for themselves,” said Sue Nikolai, the director of the Fund. “The program has been successful because it’s an easy way for local businesses to make a big impact. It doesn’t cost the business anything, and customers are happy to pay the 1% for our local environment. This year, we’re aiming to double down on promoting our outstanding partner businesses. For example, we feature each business in the Vail Daily, in our monthly newsletters that go out to over 4,000 subscribers, social media posts, and host a big holiday promotion to encourage our community to ‘shop local.’ We want this program to be a win/win for our land and rivers and our local businesses.”

“As our communities and industries continue to cope with concerns around drought, wildfire, erosion, water quality concerns and more, the need for watershed advocacy — whether it’s educating about the importance of river temperature awareness around fishing, offering engaging workshops on useful topics such as rain barrel use, and offering volunteer opportunities for the community — is incredibly important. We are doing all we can to focus on our work and are so grateful for the Land & Rivers Fund for helping support us in doing that,” said Melanie Smith, development and communications coordinator at the Eagle River Watershed Council.

“Our community depends on our rivers, open spaces and access to nature, and there are so many important conservation opportunities available in our community,” said Jessica Foulis, the executive director of Eagle Valley Land Trust. “Our Land & Rivers Partner businesses, like our newest partners Roam and Mauka Poke Bar, both in Eagle, provide critical funding that allows our organizations to focus on doing conservation work that matters for our community and wildlife.”

Check out the following Land & Rivers businesses, and be sure give them a high-five for supporting our local environment next time you stop in:


  • Rob Schilling Coldwell Banker
  • Root & Flower
  • Two Arrows Coffee
  • Unravel Coffee Shop
  • Up the Creek
  • Vail Catering Concepts
  • Vail Fine Wines


  • Balance Point Construction
  • Vela Apparel


  • Jerry Sibley Plumbing
  • Minturn Anglers
  • Sunrise/Moonrise Minturn


  • Ethos Landscaping
  • Fancy Pansy
  • R Farmers’ Market
  • Vail Valley Rolfing


  • 714 Home
  • Alpine Quest Sports
  • Bishop Bindings
  • Cut
  • Drunken Goat
  • Form Attainment Studio
  • Main Street Grill
  • Maker + Stitch
  • Riverwalk Theater
  • UPS Stores (Edwards-Vail-Avon)
  • Village Bagel


  • A Good Sport
  • Bonfire Brewing
  • Katch of the Day
  • Mauka Poke Bar
  • QuietKat
  • Roam
  • Sendy Sauce
  • Sweet Leaf Pioneer
  • Yoga Off Broadway


  • Motley Fabric
  • Tu Casa Restaurant and Coffee Shop

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