Many of Palmer Land Trust’s past and current projects focus on the foothills of the Pikes Peak region, the land that comprises the Front Range scenic backdrop from Penrose in the south to Palmer Lake in the north. Land use along the backdrop, because of its highly visible nature, has a large impact on our community; it frames many of our views of Colorado Springs’ most cherished natural assets: Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods.
Adjacent to the Garden of the Gods Park, on Rampart Range Road, rest twenty-six vacant lots that range in size from one to five acres. Because of their proximity to the Garden of the Gods, and their unique position overlooking Colorado Springs, Palmer Land Trust has placed a priority on the preservation of these lots in their natural, undisturbed condition. Their development would greatly impact the scenic character of the park, particularly as viewed form the east. The most recognizable vista – famous worldwide – looking through the Kissing Camels and Grey Rock to Pikes Peak in the background, is the one that would be most negatively impacted.
The backdrop lots were originally purchased by private individuals and entities between 1970 and 1972. On May 16, 1984, Palmer Land Trust purchased one of the twenty-six lots, approximately two acres in size, which overlooks the Garden of the Gods Park.
Up through 2008, the City of Colorado Springs had acquired seven of the twenty-six lots – the rest remained in private ownership. In 2009, a generous citizen donated the eighth lot to the city to be used as part of the Garden of the Gods Park. On July 9, 2010, Palmer Land Trust donated yet another lot to Colorado Springs to be incorporated into the park; Colorado Springs now owns nine of the twenty-six lots.
View of Garden of the Gods Park from the east. The black in the background represents the lot Palmer Land Trust donated to the City of Colorado Springs. The gray parcels in the background represent lots that the City of Colorado Springs owns. The white parcels represent privately owned properties.
(Image courtesy of Google Earth)