The GOCO Board awarded a $96,000 grant to Palmer Land Trust to mobilize the Pikes Peak community around a collective vision that prioritizes land conservation, tourism, and outdoor recreation within the Pikes Peak region.
For Colorado Springs and surrounding communities, Pikes Peak is an iconic local identifier. GOCO funding will help Palmer Land Trust develop a collective vision to leverage Pike’s Peak as a place to be inspired and sustained, a place to play, and a place to support the local community’s quality of life into the future, as the area population continues to rise.
This project builds on Palmer Land Trust’s successful Generation Leadership Project, funded in part with a GOCO conservation excellence grant awarded in 2017. That project recognized the importance of community in effective land conservation efforts and focused on how to enhance the Colorado Springs community’s engagement in conservation. The outcome of this project was an awareness-building campaign and engagement opportunities designed to activate a base of conservation champions, specifically targeting the Millennial and GenX generations.
The Elevate the Peak project will build on that project to identify a collective conservation and recreation vision. Two core viewpoints on the future of conservation will guide the visioning process: that effective land conservation must operate on a regional level, and that land conservation goals and priorities must be rooted in the communities where conservation work occurs.
“Pikes Peak is more than another mountain; it is part of the identity and provides a sense of place for the region. You look at Pikes Peak and know that you are home,” said Rebecca Jewett, executive director of Palmer Land Trust. “Palmer Land Trust is excited to galvanize the collective passion for this landscape and turn it into a roadmap for conservation and recreation action.”
With a diverse coalition of organizations at the table, this project will determine key priorities to inform a 10-year vision, priority, and funding strategy for a region that covers El Paso, Fremont, and Teller counties. Three core components will be used to guide a successful community engagement process: engaging community influencers and thought leaders; empowering the broader community in strategic conversations; and educating and inspiring the community through a branding and messaging campaign.
Ideally, this process and the final document produced will serve as a replicable model to assist other conservation entities and communities in conservation visioning and sustained community engagement.
For more information, contact Palmer Land Trust.