The mission of the Eagle Valley Land Trust is to preserve forever our scenic vistas, open spaces, historic lands, waterways and wildlife habitats that represent the uniqueness of Eagle County and the central Rocky Mountains for the enjoyment, education and benefit of all who live in and experience this special place.
History of the Eagle Valley Land Trust
The Eagle Valley Land Trust was founded in 1982 by Roger Tilkemeier. The original board of directors included John Benton, Floyd Crawford, Chris Jouflas, Don Price, George Rosenberg and Jen Wright. It was the third land trust established in Colorado. Just as the local Land Trust was getting off the ground, the sharp recession of the 1980's curtailed the immediate need for it.
During the next decade, growth was sharply reduced in Eagle County. In 1989 the Eagle Valley Land Trust accepted a donation of 62 acres of land near Eagle on Brush Creek. This land was subsequently put under conservation easement and became the first protected open space holding of your local Land Trust.
In the early 1990s, rapid growth began anew in Eagle County. In 1994 Board President Terrill Knight began to reinvigorate your local Land Trust. New board members were added, and the board began a search for funds to hire an Executive Director.
In 1996 the Eagle Valley Land Trust received a grant from the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund to hire an Executive Director. Thanks to matching funds from Vail Associates, Harry Frampton of East West Partners, Cordillera, the Catto Charitable Foundation and the Ruth and Vernon Taylor Foundation, the Land Trust secured the necessary funds to hire its first full time staff person.
After a substantial search, your local Land Trust hired Brad Udall in May, 1997. Upon becoming EVLT's Executive Director, Brad emphasized three primary goals for meaningful conservation projects in Eagle County: to protect key lands, especially in the I-70 corridor; to provide for the long term financial security of the trust; and to acquire a source of funds to purchase land and development rights. Under Brad's leadership, your local Land Trust completed several significant projects. Among the most important achievements were the conservation easements placed on Webster Ranch and the Diamond S Ranch, the inclusion of 640 acres of state-owned land in the conservation-oriented Stewardship Trust and the public acquisition of more than 1,800 acres along East and West Brush Creek which became part of Sylvan Lake State Park.
In the ensuing years, your local Land Trust developed an annual fundraising event; enhanced its educational and outreach materials; and began producing official annual reports. The EVLT team also implemented a number of standard business practices, including an annual independent financial audit, a copy of which is available on the EVLT website. Through the years, your local Land Trust has completed 28 conservation transactions, the largest of which is the 4,800-acre Bair Ranch easement.
EVLT was selected in February 2007 to be one of 22 land trusts to participate in the Land Trust Alliance Accreditation Commission's pilot program. Your local Land Trust has since become one of the first land trusts in the country to achieve voluntary accreditation by the national organization.
The Eagle Valley Land Trust annually stewards, monitors and inspects over 7,000 acres of protected land for the benefit of our county, its residents and our guests. Your local Land Trust continues to pursue new conservation projects by identifying future lands for protection within our mountain community.
Current executive director, Jim Daus, is prioritizing scenic preservation along our riverways and highways. His background in commercial real estate development and then nearly 9 years of conservation real estate at Boulder County Parks and Open Space makes Jim and his outstanding staff a powerful advocate for land conservation.