The Eaton family adds conservation to their Eagle County legacy

The Eaton family conserves a U.S. Forest Service inholding in a region pressured by development.

For Immediate Release

Media contact: Karina Puikkonen,, 720.557.8277

June 28, 2024

EDWARDS, Colo. – The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) announces the completion of a new conservation easement with the Eaton family that conserves the 160-acre Eaton Ranch Upper Division in Eagle County. This property is a U.S. Forest Service inholding surrounded by scenic mountain views and high development pressure, but brothers Mike and Perry Eaton and their families have committed to permanently conserving the ranch in partnership with CCALT. Funding support for the significant transaction costs was provided primarily by Eagle County and also by Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program’s Lower Colorado River Committee.

 “The Eaton family has deep roots on this ranch and in the community and we are proud to partner with them in conserving their ranch,” said John Gioia, CCALT’s Director of Transactions. “We are grateful for their commitment to conservation and for Eagle County and Colorado Parks and Wildlife for their funding support.”

The conservation easement will ensure the significant wildlife habitat, scenic character, and agricultural values of the property are permanently protected, and will permit the Eatons to continue as the long-term stewards on the ranch. Mike and Perry Eaton’s great uncle, Carl Eaton, homesteaded this inholding in 1928, supporting his family by farming, raising animals, and producing some lumber.  Mike and Perry are now the third generation of Eatons on the ranch and manage the property with sons Tyler and Bryce, the fourth generation. Mike continues to utilize the property as his parents, Bruce and Winifred, did as summer pasture for a small herd of cattle.

Photos courtesy of the Eaton Family. The Eaton Family at the Homestead Cabin 2015 (Left to Right) – Bruce Eaton, Bryce Eaton, Perry Eaton, Tyler Eaton, Mike Eaton, Nathan Dahl, Shelly Dahl, and Winifred Grimshaw.

The Eatons have had a wide-reaching presence in their community. One of the Vail Ski Resort’s founders, Earl Eaton, was born in the cabin on this property, just 15 miles from the Beaver Creek/Vail ski resorts.  Bruce also worked at Vail and helped to create and groom many of its ski runs in the early days. Winifred was the Edwards Postmaster.

“As owners and stewards of this unique property, we have wanted to ensure that it remains much the same as we received it from our parents and to provide future generations the same opportunities to enjoy and benefit from what this special part of Colorado has to offer,” said Mike and Perry Eaton. “This conservation easement and our partnership with CCALT will help us and those generations to protect and conserve this area.  We believe that Carl, Earl, and Bruce, may they continue to rest in peace, would be pleased with this development.  And to all of those who have contributed to making this possible, we are thankful.”

The Eaton Ranch Upper Division conservation easement is located south of the town of Edwards, is surrounded by the White River National Forest on all sides. Amidst aspen and pine trees, a decreed water right out of Colorow Creek supports irrigation for the summer grazing pastures. These water rights are permanently tied to the land through the easement ensuring they will support the agricultural viability of the ranch in perpetuity, and support the wide variety of fish, wildlife, and plant communities that also inhabit this property throughout the year.

The Eaton Ranch Upper Division Conservation Easement expands the county’s dedication to conservation. Within five miles of Eaton Ranch, several thousand acres of land are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Eagle County Open Space, with another 3,600 acres of conserved private lands. CCALT also holds conservation easements on 8,193 acres in Eagle County.

About the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust
The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) is a nonprofit land conservation organization whose mission is to “…conserve Colorado’s western heritage and working landscapes for the benefit of future generations.” To date, CCALT has worked with over 400 families to conserve more than 789,000 acres of land forever.

About Eagle County Open Space
Since 2002, the Eagle County Open Space program has helped conserve over 15,000 acres of land in Eagle County through fee-title acquisitions, Conservation Easements, and the funding of Conservation Easement transaction costs.

About Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) works to perpetuate the wildlife resources of the state, provide a quality state parks system, and provide an enjoyable and sustainable outdoor recreation opportunities that educate and inspire current and future generations to serve as active stewards of Colorado’s natural resources.