In 1977, a group of farsighted individuals formed the William J. Palmer Parks Foundation with the intention to advance the legacy of parks and open spaces left by Colorado Springs’ founder, General William Jackson Palmer. After acquiring a number of important properties adjacent to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, the organization began to grow. It launched conservation projects in the Black Forest and on the north slopes of Pikes Peak. It began working with landowners in small mountain communities along the southern Front Range and with working ranchers throughout the shortgrass prairie of the Lower Arkansas Valley. Its service territory expanded across ten counties.
Palmer Land Trust’s methods evolved as well during this growth period. The conservation easement became an effective conservation tool that could be used to protect wildlife habitat, scenic corridors, public open spaces, and historic agricultural lands. The conservation easement was ideally suited to support voluntary land protection efforts driven by private citizens, and numbers of conservation minded landowners began to partner with Palmer Land Trust to preserve their properties. Palmer also began using this tool in partnership with local government—to protect newly established public open spaces that would benefit a growing populace and provide connections to the natural world.
In 2007, Palmer Land Trust was awarded the El Pomar Award for Excellence, Colorado’s most prestigious award for high-achieving nonprofits. In 30 years, it had grown to become the largest, private, local conservation organization in the United States based on conserved acreage holdings. To date, the organization has protected over 70,000 acres throughout Colorado’s southern Front Range, in mountain, plains, and urban communities. Palmer’s current efforts, involve some of its most ambitious conservation projects to date. Join us. Help us to preserve southeastern Colorado’s wildlife habitat and natural beauty. Help us to establish new public open spaces and protect our historic agricultural lands. Subscribe to learn more about our current efforts. Donate to support our work.