Every year, we use the spring and summer seasons to connect with landowners and set up visits to each property we help protect. These visits are part of the tools we use for the permanent protection of land and we do them every year, for every property, forever.
From farmland to public open space, our team of experienced land stewards visit properties and observe any changes that are taking place. These could be natural changes from weather patterns, like drought or flooding. They could also be changes that come from work a landowner has done like updating irrigation methods, thinning trees to prevent wildfires, or improving buildings within a building envelope.
Our team members who make annual property visits are often scientists – biologists and ecologists – and land management experts with long experience working with the land and landowners. They know what healthy land looks like and what symptoms stressed land exhibits. They can spot knapweed and identify red-tailed hawks and mountain lion scat. Of course, the most important partners we have on our property visits are the landowners themselves, and Palmer team members always chat with them about their land and what new issues they might be facing.
Because Palmer's focus is to protect the “conservation values” of a property forever – like the value the property has as habitat for wildlife, the scenic views it provides to the public, public access and recreation, or its continued use as farm or ranch land – these become the focus of the visit. Our stewards hike, drive, fly and even bike around the properties and take pictures to document that these conservation values still exist and are being adequately protected. Over time, our visits create a history of the land and how it responds to change, while maintaining its conservation values. Red Rock Canyon Open Space, for example, recently faced a challenge when Colorado Springs had a period of high rainfall that caused significant flooding and damage in the Open Space. The landowner, the City of Colorado Springs, worked with Palmer staff to ensure that what needed to be done to fix damaged areas would also be done in a way that protected its conservation value as a public open space. The property visit documented how the land had changed, and how the conservation values were still intact.
Stay tuned as we share some of the experiences of our team as they visit properties this season.
Want to know more about the types of properties we help conserve alongside landowners? Check out Our Work to read about the public recreation, signature landscapes, and working farms and ranches that are part of our region.