Palmer Land Trust's Public Open Space Initiative continues the legacy left by Palmer’s namesake, General William Jackson Palmer, who gave more than 2,000 acres of parks, bridle and foot paths, and tree-lined streets to the City of Colorado Springs. Palmer Land Trust holds eleven conservation easements on city and county owned properties, providing permanent protection for lands that offer area residents open space and recreational opportunities.
Why, you might ask, does a conservation easement need to be placed on a publicly owned and managed open space park? The answer is that one of Colorado's largest funding sources for open space acquisition, the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund (GOCO), provides funding for the purchase of these properties on the condition that a conservation easement is placed on the property. GOCO’s funding is derived from proceeds from the Colorado Lottery. GOCO mandates that certain terms become part of the conservation easement in order to further protect its financial investment in the property. GOCO is primarily a funding organization that does not have the personnel capacity that is necessary to annually visit the many properties that it has helped purchase. Therefore, it turns to land trusts, like the Palmer Land Trust, to steward the land on an annual basis. Palmer Land Trust's responsibilities are outlined in the conservation easement governing uses on each public property.