Last year, the citizens of Colorado Springs worked with El Paso County to protect the beloved open space Bear Creek Regional Park. The County, which owns the land, conducted an extensive public process to work with the community on a plan to ensure that the park is never subdivided or developed. The County then worked with Palmer Land Trust to place a conservation easement on the property that will protect it forever, while still allowing the County the flexibility it needs to manage the land and balance its natural values with public recreational use.
Palmer Land Trust now holds the conservation easement on Bear Creek Park and will work with the County to ensure that the conservation values are protected into the future. El Paso County retains the responsibility to appropriately manage the land, as do all landowners that have conservation easements on their land.
Palmer Land Trust is aware that the County has granted the Broadmoor a permit to lead horseback rides within the Park, which has sparked some questions from the public about this permit and commercial use. The conservation easement allows customary recreational uses and concessions that may have a commercial component. With the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center on the east side of the park, horseback riding is standard. Given that equestrian use is allowed and customary in the park, there is no conflict with the easement terms. Therefore, the County has made an allowable land management decision. The County will utilize their professional staff to monitor the impacts of the horseback rides and address any problems. Palmer Land Trust will monitor the park and any impacts to the conservation values, and work with the County to address any degradation that may occur, from this or any other activity within the Park.
We sincerely appreciate all our partners who contributed to the success of this project, and we look forward to continuing to work with the community and the County as we ensure the protection of Bear Creek Regional Park forever.