Wide open ranchlands, breathtaking views, lush wildflower fields

...Just Another Day in the Office

Our mission is working with you to forever protect and steward open lands for vistas, recreation, wildlife, and ranching, thus contributing to Gunnison County’s unique heritage and quality of life.

Our vision is protecting your way of life. We envision Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley’s quality of life protected and preserved into the future through thoughtful conservation and partnerships.  We value our breathtaking valley to peak views, a variety of wildlife, riparian and wetland habitats, an expansive agricultural base, and year-round recreational pursuits. The community values the Crested Butte Land Trust as a vital institution which protects and contributes to the quality of life of our area.

Preserving the Present for the Future

We are a non-political nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that works on a voluntary basis with private landowners in Gunnison County. The inspiration for the Crested Butte Land Trust came from local builder and avid environmentalist, Norman Bardeen, who served on its first board of directors.

The Land Trust is a vital asset for the community: our clean waters, scenic vistas, and healthy habitats are valuable to our way of life. In the words of former board member Jackie Ingham, our purpose is “preserving the present for the future.”


 The Crested Butte Land Trust is a 501 (C) 3 organization. Our federal tax ID number is 84-1190830. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 


What is a Land Trust?

Land Trusts are 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations that acquire land or conservation easements for conservation purposes. Conservation purposes may include the protection of working ranch lands, public recreation opportunities, wildlife habitats and scenic viewsheds. The Crested Butte Land Trust is a nationally accredited organization that has conserved thousands of acres in the Gunnison Valley since it was founded in 1991.

How do Land Trusts Protect Land?

Land Trusts can protect land in several ways. One way is through fee acquisition, either by purchase or as a gift. Another option is donated or bargain sale conservation easements. Conservation easements vary depending on the needs of the landowner and the conservation objectives. The Crested Butte Land Trust monitors and stewards all of the land that it owns or holds easements on, ensuring that these landscapes are preserved for future generations.

What is a Conservation Easement?

A conservation easement is a legal agreement between a willing landowner and the Land Trust that permanently encumbers a specified piece of land, often limiting use of the land in order to protect the land’s conservation values. The purpose of the conservation easement must meet specific charitable criteria determined by the State of Colorado and Internal Revenue Code.

Are Conserved Lands Private or Public Property?

The short answer is that there are both private and public conserved lands in the Gunnison Valley. The Land Trust has worked with the Town of Crested Butte to acquire and protect lands rich with public recreation benefits. Some of those lands are publicly owned by the Town and some are privately owned by the Land Trust. Many more parcels are privately owned by local families that have chosen to encumber the future development potential of their property in order to protect the family’s ability to keep the land in agricultural production. Conserved ranchlands are usually private land parcels that do not include public access of any kind. 

Do You Allow Public Access on Land Trust Property?

Some of the most heavily visited outdoor recreation destinations in the Gunnison Valley are on private conserved lands owned or held in easement with the Land Trust such as the Lower Loop, Long Lake, Gunsight Bridge and the Lupine Trail. Access to these areas have been enabled through the acquisition of lands and easements that allow for public access. Many more conserved private land parcels are working ranches that do not have a public access component. Public access is allowed on Land Trust property where it is leased for public use, but with some restrictions. Crested Butte Land Trust asks that you abide by Leave No Trace protocol and stick to only established trails. The Land Trust does ask you to submit a request for any commercial use. Click here to learn more.

How Can I Learn More About Trails and Recreation on Land Trust Properties?

Please visit our interactive map here to learn more about individual conserved parcels in the Gunnison Valley. For specific information about public trails and recreation opportunities, you can visit our partners at the Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association and Crested Butte Nordic for year round trail information on private and public conserved lands

How can I support the Crested Butte Land Trust?

You can support the Crested Butte Land Trust in many ways!

Click here to give today!

Click here to learn about all the ways to give. 

Click here to learn about volunteer opportunities, events, and to sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Our Partners

The Land Trust can’t do this work without our partners, and we are grateful for their support. The organizations listed below help us complete many different projects such as building trails, financing conservation easements, raising operational funds, hosting field trips, and so much more. Click each logo to learn more about the Land Trust’s incredible partners.

Protect What You Love

As pressures on the Gunnison Valley increase, you can be part of the solution.
Leave a legacy of open space protection by donating to the Crested Butte Land Trust today,
and ensure that you and generations to come will continue to enjoy our unique quality of life.


Receive our monthly Mountain Memo e-newsletter filled with info & updates about the places you love.