© Michael Menefee

Conservation & Recreation Program Manager

Posted Date: September 17
Position Closing Date: Open until filled
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, but due to COVID-19, this is temporarily a remote position until Palmer’s physical office in Colorado Springs, Colorado re-opens.
Employment Status: Full-time, Exempt

Position Summary

Palmer Land Trust seeks a qualified and motivated individual to join our team to assist in developing strategic, innovative, and lasting conservation projects throughout the region. The Conservation and Recreation Program Manager (CRPM) will serve as the internal transaction lead for complex real estate transactions, supporting the Land Team on acquisition projects as needed. The CRPM will also be responsible for developing and implementing Palmer’s newly created Trail Program, designed to assist community efforts around finalizing two trails in the Pikes Peak Region, the Front Range Trail and the Ring the Peak Trail. Additionally, the CRPM will take the technical lead on an acquisition project designed to increase the size of Mueller State Park. The CRPM reports to the Conservation and Stewardship Director (CSD) and works as a part of a team to ensure Palmer’s mission is fulfilled to the highest standards.


Palmer’s region spans multiple ecosystems, through urban and rural areas, and requires a thoughtful and solutions-oriented approach combined with a deep passion for land conservation. Our preferred candidate is both a self-started and highly collaborative, someone who inspires confidence and trust. They are tenacious, willing and able to respond creatively to challenges and, can see a path forward when a project becomes stuck. The CRPM must be politically savvy and have experience navigating a complex political and cultural landscape. We are searching for a committed and passionate employee who truly enjoys working with people and who has the ability to attract support, build relationships, facilitate difficult discussions, and develop strategic partnerships. 

Core Responsibilities 

Recreation Projects Management (70%)

  • Assist in identifying, researching, and prioritizing properties for protection using GIS and other available tools. Develop maps and associated GIS data for project proposals, project evaluation and analysis, and for other internal uses.
  • Develop strategies for landowner outreach, creating a “toolbox” of options to present to landowners for trail projects. This may include trail access easements, conservation easements, land acquisitions, or other solutions. 
  • Initiate and cultivate relationships with landowners, conservation partners, and other stakeholders in order to identify and ultimately complete land conservation projects. 
  • Determine appropriate roles and responsibilities for partner organizations and memorialize these in administrative agreements; ensure proper management of these agreements and other contracts and grants. 
  • Help develop new funding strategies and sources for land protection and trail easements.
  • Working with the CSD and the CD, prepare budgets for projects and develop annual work plans based on recreation program goals. 
  • Keep abreast of land conservation tools, tax incentives, and public and private funding opportunities.
  • Maintain project files in accordance with LTA accreditation and Palmer policies and procedures.
  • Represent Palmer at various public settings. 

Conservation Easement Transaction Management (25%)

  • Working under the CSD and CD, manages the transaction process for all conservation easements, ensuring all activities are completed in a timely manner, and reviewing all due diligence items (purchase and sale agreements, appraisals, baseline documentation reports, mineral reports, environmental assessments, title documents, closing documents, and others as applicable).
  • Hires and manages consultants and vendors to support transactions with a variety of expertise such as appraisals, surveys, legal advice, land use and planning, and environmental assessment.
  • Works with the Operations Director to ensure timely invoicing and payment for acquisition activities.
  • Assist CSD and CD with negotiations, review, and drafting transactional and legal documents, including easements, option agreements, and purchase and sale agreements. 
  • Acts as Palmer’s Internal Reviewer of all conservation easement documents.
  • Ensures acquisition records are properly created and maintained in accordance with LTA accreditation and Palmer policies and procedures.
  • Work with other staff to ensure that all land conservation transactions are adequately documented and transferred to the Stewardship Program post-closing, including completion of the due diligence memo, database management, file organization, transfer of data to Palmer’s attorney, and other applicable items. 
  • With the CSD and CD, identifies sources of project-specific funding from public agencies, private foundations, and other sources; assists with the preparation of grant applications and associated budgets.
  • Stays informed on current state-of-the-art legal, technical, and pragmatic best practices for conservation acquisitions of all kinds. 
  • Working with the CSD, ensures Palmer’s Land Program is at the forefront of the industry by assisting in the identification of efficiencies and technological advances that streamline record-keeping, land acquisitions, policies and procedures, etc. 

Administration & Other (5%)

  • Abide by and uphold all Palmer policies and procedures, LTA Standards and Practices, and any other industry best management practices. 
  • Participate in staff meetings, Land Committee meetings, events, and board meetings where necessary. Prepare materials for board approvals and updates. 
  • Contribute to the development of Palmer Land Trust print and online materials.
  • Other duties and special projects as assigned.

Knowledge and Skill Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in relevant field (land conservation, natural resource management, environmental law, real estate, etc).
  • Minimum 3 years’ demonstrated experience working on complex projects, program development and successful implementation, conservation real estate transactions, or other relevant work experience.
  • Must be a self-starter who is well-organized and able to make decisions based on analysis, experience, and judgment and have the follow-through necessary for conservation real estate transactions. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to convey complex concepts to a lay audience.
  • An ability to establish effective, close working relationships with a wide range of people and organizations reflecting a spectrum of political perspectives including landowners, government agencies, community groups, and conservation organizations.
  • Must be able to work in a fast-paced environment to meet established goals and deadlines while juggling multiple and competing projects and priorities. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to a collaborative approach to solving problems. 
  • Ability to work independently, self-motivate, as well as manage time, work hours, expenses, mileage driven, and coordinate multiple activities while delivering quality results 
  • Willingness to work a flexible schedule with some evening and weekend hours to meet deadlines and accommodate landowner schedules
  • Experience in record keeping and data management with the ability to use and manage databases and other industry-specific computer software (Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe, CiviCRM)
  • Ability to use and manage GIS software and datasets (ArcGIS) 
  • Must be willing to travel frequently and use personal vehicle, as necessary, in the performance of work-related activities - travel expenses will be reimbursed. 
  • Ability to hike, perform physical activities, and work independently outdoors in varied weather conditions and in remote and rugged landscapes.
  • Must be committed to the organization’s conservation mission and be willing to contribute to maintaining a collegial, efficient, and ethical working environment with staff, Board, and others. Being a good fit for the culture at Palmer is important for the team.

Salary & Benefits

Salary range is $50,000 – 58,000 DOE. Palmer offers full time employees excellent benefits including: employer paid health, dental, and vision insurance, short-term and long-term disability, and generous paid time off and holiday observances. The position is based out of Palmer’s Colorado Springs office located in beautiful downtown, and in close proximity to ample recreation and open space opportunities.

How to Apply: The position is open until filled. Early applications are strongly recommended. Applicants should submit 1) a cover letter, 2) resume, 3) list of three references, and 4) answers to the questions below (all as a single pdf) by e-mail to: [email protected] with the subject line: Conservation and Recreation Program Manager. References will not be contacted unless you are selected for a final interview. 

Please limit responses to no more than 200 words per question:

  1. Why does conserving land, water, and nature in southern Colorado matter to you?
  2. Please describe your program management experience.
  3. Why are you interested in working for Palmer Land Trust and where do you see yourself in 3 years?

If selected for an interview, there will be a 3-step interview process held remotely by Zoom (with the potential for a socially-distanced, in-person meeting following the Zoom interviews). It may include:

  1. A first interview by Zoom for a “meet and greet” with the Conservation and Stewardship Director (20 minutes)
  2. A second interview with the Conservation and Stewardship Director and Conservation Director. (30 minutes)
  3. A possible third interview with the CEO. (30-60 minutes)

About Palmer Land Trust

Palmer Land Trust's mission is to protect southern Colorado’s lands for present and future generations. Since its incorporation in 1977, the organization has protected nearly 136,000 acres including 20 public parks and open spaces, working farms and ranches, wildlife habitat, and scenic views.  Palmer is one of the twenty largest local land trusts in the country based upon conserved acreage holdings (there are approximately 1,700 land trusts in the United States), and it is one of the country’s first 100 nationally accredited land trusts. Its office is located in downtown Colorado Springs and has staff located throughout its service area.