Sweetwater Lake has been passed down between investors and private developers for decades. Fortunately, The Conservation Fund was able to purchase the property in 2020, amidst competing bids from private developers. Now, after working with nonprofit and federal partners, as well as local residents, the property is officially protected as part of the White River National Forest.

Our Role

The Conservation Fund worked with the Eagle Valley Land Trust and other partners to purchase the Sweetwater Lake property, and in 2021 transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service for inclusion in the White River National Forest where it will be protected forever. We worked closely with local residents, Brink Outfitters, nonprofit partners, the U.S. Forest Service, Garfield and Eagle counties, the communities of Gypsum, Eagle, and Glenwood Springs and other key players to successfully secure the land and prevent potentially harmful development.

Funding from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund was critical in securing this land for the National Forest and ensuring its permanent protection. Eagle Valley Land Trust’s ‘Save the Lake’ campaign was also critical in ensuring our purchase and ongoing stewardship of the land.

You can learn more about The Conservation Fund’s Sweetwater Lake Stewardship & Equity Fund here.

why this project matters




Many investors had a different vision for this land, ranging from housing units to a lakeside hotel to using one of the land’s springs for bottled water. However, as part of the White River National Forest, this property will increase public access opportunities, including recreation on Sweetwater Lake and new interpretive opportunities focused on the Ute Indian Cave, which sits within the lake’s surrounding property. The project will also create better public access to the surrounding federal land, such as the Flat Tops Wilderness and the Ute Trail, including upgraded trailheads and campsites. It’ll also safeguard wildlife habitat for bald eagles, osprey, elk, deer, and more, as well as protecting a critical component of the Upper Colorado River watershed.