Our Mission: To preserve and protect significant scenic sites and historic landscapes in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado.

Trust for Land Restoration is a non-profit consulting group and land trust recognized as the leader in facilitating mining companies, regulators and people in the environmental community to cooperate to achieve restoration and conservation of environmentally significant sites.

Children Playing
There can be no purpose more inspiring than to begin the age of restoration, reweaving the wondrous diversity of life that still surrounds us.
E.O. Wilson

The GoalStatewide network. Local impact.

The Trust for Land Restoration’s mission is to heal the last worst places by restoring, conserving and protecting environmentally significant lands degraded by mining or other human activities.

  • We are a statewide partner to citizen groups, local governments, and state and federal agencies seeking to cleanup and conserve abandoned mine sites in their communities.

  • We are a local land trust, focusing on easement and fee acquisition projects in Ouray, San Miguel, and San Juan Counties that other land trusts may lack the expertise or time to undertake.


An Open Letter from TLR Executive Director Patrick Willits

The Trust for Land Restoration continues to be the mightiest little land conservation organization in southwest Colorado, achieving great things with the tiniest of operating budgets.

Three years ago we downsized from a statewide organization with full-time staff to one part-time employee, seven incredibly dedicated Directors, and a cadre of advisors and friends, many of whom donate their time free of charge, to tackle unique projects in the San Juan Mountains. These projects require specialized knowledge, time and perseverance, which only TLR has, to get done.

We could not do what we do without the support of people like you who care about the San Juan Mountains, and who understand both the challenges and the opportunities to keep them special.

Within the past year TLR has accomplished much. In March of this year TLR acquired and donated a mining claim harboring an important SNOTEL weather data collection site on the top of Red Mountain Pass to the Southwest Water Conservation District. A year ago TLR acquired and donated the two mining claims above Ironton Park that comprise the historic Corkscrew Turntable to Ouray County. In 2015, aided by a donation from the Toan-O’Brien Foundation, TLR acquired and donated 14 mining claims in the Red Mountain Mining District to the US Forest Service. Some of these sites are ones we currently monitor, performing emergency stabilization and repair, when necessary, as part of written and verbal agreements with the County of Ouray, the Ouray County Historical Society, and the US Forest Service.

Currently we have two new projects in the hopper: one being the Idarado Houses and the other being the Silver Mountain Mine on Brown Mountain, which only TLR is willing to work on, and we can only work on them with the aid of your financial support.

Samantha Wright’s story in Shelter Magazine does a great job chronicling the history of the Idarado Houses and TLR’s efforts to save them. We now have a verbal agreement in concept with Newmont Mining Company that will do just that. We are working to get the agreement finalized this winter so that the four remaining houses can be stabilized, restored and brought into public ownership. Samantha’s article can be viewed Here.

We are also happy to report that TLR has received a commitment of $92,000 from the Idarado Natural Resource Damage Fund to purchase the 100 acres of mining claims that comprise the Silver Mountain Mine, on Brown Mountain, above Ironton Park. That’s about a third of the total amount of money we anticipate needing to complete the deal. Our task now is to complete negotiations with the landowner, obtain an appraisal and an environmental assessment, and raise the rest of the money needed. It’s a big task, but we are excited by the opportunity. The San Juan Mountains are incredibly special. Help us work to keep them that way. Tax-deductable donations may be sent to: The Trust for Land Restoration PO Box 743 Ridgway CO 81432. Or visit http://www.restorationtrust.org to donate on our website.

Thanks for your consideration.

Wishing You the Very Best,

Pat Willits
TLR Executive Director

Ridgway, CO

The DetailsThese practices outline the minimum steps necessary for TLR to evaluate and manage risk associated with the acquisition, restoration and conservation of contaminated sites.

  • Step 1: Project Selection Criteria

    The Trust for Land Restoration will apply a defined process, including written criteria, for selecting land and conservation easement acquisitions that will result in environmental and public benefit.

  • Step 2: Extreme Due Diligence

    TLR will obtain a professional, competent and thorough Environmental Assessment for each transaction, taking appropriate steps to identify the existence of hazardous or toxic materials affecting the property and maintain permanent records documenting those steps.

  • Step 3: Federal and State Regulatory Review and Approval

    TLR will obtain professional legal representation and engage appropriate Federal and State regulatory review of each proposed transaction.

  • Step 4: Full Disclosure

    TLR will fully disclose to all pertinent parties, including donors, sellers and government regulators, any and all information related to a particular transaction.

  • Step 5: Risk to Benefit Analysis

    TLR will analyze existing or potential problems, prior to completing an acquisition, and will either take corrective action or make a determination that the conservation values can nevertheless be restored and protected and that the benefits outweigh the risks.

  • Step 6: Full Board Consensus

    The Trust for Land Restoration will only complete a transaction after review and with full consensus of its Board of Trustees and Advisors.

Read Full Policy

The TeamMeet our board of directors.



TLR has completed a marketing plan and funding analysis that identifies a variety of sources and resources sufficient to sustain operating and project specific financial needs


TLR has developed an organizational structure that allows for management of legal and liability issues sufficient to undertake needed projects.


TLR works with local, state, and federal governments to evaluate applicable laws, regulations and policies particular to each proposed acquisition.

Strategic Plan

The InfoOur stats at a glance.

Site Assessments

Acres Conserved