An Open Letter

The Trust for Land Restoration 2018 Annual Sustaining Membership Drive:
An Open Letter from TLR Executive Director Patrick Willits

You’ve helped the Trust for Land Restoration in the past, and now it’s that time of year where we at TLR again ask for your support.

TLR continues to be the mightiest little land conservation organization in southwest Colorado, achieving great things with the tiniest of operating budgets, thanks in large part to your donations.

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. These are projects we couldn’t have taken on or have completed without your help.

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.

One of the “Idarado Houses” in transit over Red Mountain Pass, on its way from Eureka to Idarado, 1948. (Photo Courtesy Ouray County Historical Society)

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 at:


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.

Thank you again for your generous contribution last year. Please consider re-upping for 2018. 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 to donate on our website.

Thanks for your consideration. Wishing You the Very Best,

Pat Willits. 

TLR Executive Director    Ridgway      970-626-3236

TLR Board of Directors:

Bob Risch                                           Ouray

Beverly Rich, Secretary            Silverton

Randy Parker, Treasurer               Ridgway

Steve Boyle                            Ouray

Chris George                                   Durango

Don Paulson                      Ouray

Gary Roberts                                     Ridgway   

TLR Advisors to the Board:

Heidi Nadiak                                   Ridgway 

Mike Nadiak                                Ridgway

Averill Feldman               Ridgway 

Ben Tisdel                                              Ouray

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

The Trust for Land Restoration
555 West Clinton Street, POB 743, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 Phone/Fax: 970-626-3236, Email: The Trust for Land Restoration