Forty years ago the Colorado Springs metropolitan population was less than 300,000. Today, we’re quickly approaching 700,000. It’s the second-largest city in Colorado and located in the most populated county. Add to this the fact that Colorado is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and it becomes clear that these growth trends will continue.
Forty years ago, a group of passionate citizens came together with the understanding that the community needed to do more to embrace and build the identity that General William J. Palmer envisioned -- a city nestled at the foot of Pikes Peak and defined by its natural beauty. The group that would eventually form the Palmer Land Trust knew that protecting a high quality of life, closely linked to the outdoors, was and will forever be paramount to our wellbeing.
Today, Palmer Land Trust is a trusted guardian of land and water across our region. Land and water do not recognize geographic boundaries. From the summit of Pikes Peak where the headwaters of the upper Arkansas begin to flow, to the rolling grasslands of the lower Arkansas Valley where that same water irrigates our local food and crops, we are connected.
In the face of population growth and increased pressure on our land and water resources, southern Colorado faces a challenging future. Palmer, as a community, has a choice to make: We can simply maintain the good work we’ve accomplished to date, or we can push a strong vision for southern Colorado into the future. Stirred by the legacy of General Palmer, our Board and staff have chosen the latter.
It is not enough to look back on our 40 years and be content. There is much work to be done to ensure the identity and beauty of our region is always part of our day-to-day life. And now, perhaps more than ever, there is an urgency to do more. As we daily welcome new residents to our region, we must embrace the challenge to proactively conserve what we hold most dear. From daily glimpses of Pikes Peak, to local fruits and vegetables from family farms, to thriving wildlife habitat, to our favorite trails, to generations-old ranches, land and water are our lifeblood.
Join us as we work to implement a vision for the next 40 years and beyond.