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A treasure for everyone to celebrate

By: Courtesy of Palmer Land Trust
December 7, 2017 Updated: December 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm
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A snow-capped Pikes Peak in the light of a pink sunrise; the Garden of the Gods, frosty with a fresh dusting of an early winter snow; the seasonal silence of a popular trail with only a single set of footsteps in the snow pack  . . . We enjoy something special in the Pikes Peak region: access to open space right out our doors and stunning views of the Rocky Mountains right outside our windows.

 

Our access to these mesmerizing experiences is unprecedented. Nestled at the base of America’s Mountain, we can commute or ride along single track every day, we can find a city park in nearly every neighborhood and we can get “out of town” without ever leaving. This is truly a gift.

 

When our city’s founder, William J. Palmer, envisioned Colorado Springs it included access to parks and trails.  He gifted land to establish our first city park and various important and iconic open spaces. Acacia, Monument Valley Park, North Cheyenne Canon Park, Palmer Park and others are all credited to Palmer. Our founder donated over 1,500 acres of land because he saw the vision and the value of a city that incorporated access to nature into everyday life.

 

Protecting this legacy and expanding it, when possible, has fallen to local citizens throughout our city’s history. Because of the work of individuals, seventeen of our public open spaces and parks are permanently protected, today and forever. Dedicated Coloradans have ensured that the view beyond Garden of the Gods to the west is forever wild, that Pikes Peak will forever be seen from Highway 24, and that the trails that run all the way from Iron Mountain in Manitou Springs, through Red Rock Canyon Open Space, along Section 16, and up to Jones Park will exist for our children and our children’s children.

 

Protecting open space gives the next generation access to the same outdoor experiences we enjoy today – the same access that the generations before us enjoyed throughout their lifetimes. These commitments form an indelible identity for Colorado Springs, one at the core of who we are and why we live here.

 

At the same time that our daily quality of life is improved with the option to gaze unhindered at the foothills, our local economy is strengthened, as well. Studies show that for every dollar invested in conservation, the economic return can be as high as twelve-fold. Small businesses, their employees, and the tourists that come through our town have a significant positive impact on our local economy. This season we celebrate an innate treasure available to all of us – the ability to get outside and into our ever-expanding “backyard”.

 

Join Palmer Land Trust and make a commitment to keep Colorado Springs’ natural beauty ALWAYS a part of our city’s future. Make a year-end donation at palmerlandtrust.org/donate.

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