The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is pleased to announce recent growth of the Gunnison County Stewardship Fund. Gunnison Energy has joined a number of local businesses in contributing to the Fund to support healthy public lands in Gunnison County, as well as local nonprofits who contribute meaningful capacity to implement recreation and ecological health-focused projects. For Gunnison Energy, the Fund represents a way to balance protection of wildlife habitat, improved recreation, enhanced public health and other values with oil and gas development.

Beyond providing a direct donation to steward public lands in Gunnison County, Gunnison Energy is hoping to utilize this new partnership to also highlight and support the resilience of locally-owned businesses in alignment with County’s One Valley Prosperity Project.

Gunnison Energy will donate up to $30,000 to the Gunnison County Stewardship Fund in 2019, based on sales at local businesses, including 5Bs BBQ (303 E Tomichi Avenue), The Gunnysack Cowboy Bistro Restaurant & Bar (142 N Main Street) and others (to be announced). For every $1 in gross sales at each of these local businesses based on a sales item(s) of their choosing, Gunnison Energy will in turn donate $1 to the Stewardship Fund – up to $30,000.

Gunnison Energy has been doing business in the County for 15 years and we look forward to 15 more years. The collaboration and partnership between the County and local business resilience are an instrumental aspect to our personal performance goals and business goals. We can’t see ourselves not instituting multiple avenues for local business growth whether it be with Western State University, a small local restaurant in town and/or recreational dependent business accessing the surrounding lands managed by the Forest Service. I find the beauty of nature and friendships I’m building in the community not only fulfilling for Gunnison Energy but a lifelong journey with great people.

Salar Nabavian, General Manager, Gunnison Energy

Drew Brown, owner of 5Bs BBQ, explained, “serving the community as best we can” is a central tenant of his cherished local business. And caring for the surrounding public lands is even more personal; thinking of his young family, Drew said, “preserving the public lands around us is important. I want my kids to be able to experience these lands in the future. We’re all about helping to make sure that happens.”

Gunnison National Forest

For Dave Jacobson, who along with his wife Lisa, owns and manages The Gunnisack, the partnership provides an opportunity to spotlight the great food they’ve been serving since 2004 – and their special ‘Thanks for your Service Day’ that allows them to engage more broadly with the community. Every Thursday, all military (active duty and veterans), emergency responders and law enforcement personnel eat free if they dine in. Dave explained, “it’s a way for us to give back to the folks who put their lives on the line for us.” Dave also shared an anecdote; a Vietnam veteran once sat down for a meal at the Gunnysack and shared that no one had bought a meal for him in the years since he’d been home from war.

The NFF encourages readers to visit these special local establishments. When you do, your dollar goes even further; you support the resilience of local economy, you give back to the National Forests and public lands that are the backdrop for the community, and you are part of something bigger.

The Gunnison Stewardship Fund is an innovative community-based strategy that supports local priorities to enhance outdoor experiences and improve forest, watershed and range health on the Gunnison National Forest and surrounding public lands. The idea was developed by local leaders and the NFF, and complements the One Valley Prosperity Project in Gunnison County. For many in the region, protection of public lands also protects homes and businesses, and furthers a locally-driven tourism-based economy. The NFF is managing the Fund in close coordination with the Gunnison Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service, local contributors and representatives from the Gunnison County Sustainable Tourism and Outdoor Recreation (STOR) Committee to ensure priority projects selected are most meaningful to the local community.

It’s not too late to join! Local businesses and residents interested in getting involved or contributing to the Fund are encouraged to contact Emily Olsen, Colorado Program Manager for the National Forest Foundation at

National Forest Foundation