Trust Our Land: The local businesses protecting lands and watersheds

Bergen Tjossem
Trust Our Land
Land & Rivers Businesses protect the lands and watersheds that our community depends on every day. Contact to learn more and sign up. photo

It’s been almost five 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 toward 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 and the Eagle River Watershed Council 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 complementary. 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 past 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. 

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“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
  • Ketsol
  • 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.

Bergen Tjossem is the Eagle Valley Land Trust’s deputy director and can be reached at To learn more about the Land & Rivers Fund, contact Sue Nikolai at or visit

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