News

Strawberry Hill Update

In partnership with the City of Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor, Palmer Land Trust has permanently protected the Strawberry Hill property, also known as Strawberry Fields. The conservation easement on the property ensures perpetual public access and open space protection. On May 24th, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a resolution authorizing a land exchange between the City of Colorado Springs and The Broadmoor by a vote of 6-3. The resolution stipulated that a conservation easement be placed on the Strawberry Hill property as a component of the exchange.

The Board of Trustees of Palmer Land Trust approved engaging in a conservation easement due diligence process after reviewing the Strawberry Hill property against conservation criteria. After much scrutiny and careful review, the Board of Trustees has approved and finalized the conservation easement. A number of factors were considered in coming to this conclusion:

  • Permanent protection of Strawberry Hill that guarantees perpetual public access to the property is of critical importance to the community. A conservation easement remains the best tool to ensure 1) that Strawberry Hill is preserved and 2) that the public will continue to have access to it into perpetuity.  
  • Palmer Land Trust is southern Colorado’s regional land trust with deep community ties and a history of collaborating with the city and county to permanently protect some of the community’s most beloved open spaces. Since the conservation easement is a requirement of the exchange, Palmer Land Trust felt it was important that it hold the conservation easement, as opposed to a non-local entity, given its understanding and dedication to the community.

A conservation easement is a binding legal agreement that offers permanent restriction of a property to protect its conservation values. A qualified land trust holds the easement and is given the right to enforce the restrictions laid out within the easement. The easement restrictions remain with the property forever, regardless of who owns the land in the future, and can include limitations on development rights, subdivision rights, new structures or other improvements, mineral extraction, paving, industrial activities, or alteration of watercourses or topography. To ensure the terms of the conservation easement are upheld in perpetuity, Palmer is responsible for the enforcement of the easement terms, annual monitoring of the property, and approval of reserved rights within the easement.

Palmer Land Trust is a state-certified and nationally accredited land trust and one of the 20 largest local and state land trusts nationally. The organization currently holds conservation easements on 120 properties and more than 103,000 acres, including easement on 16 public properties in El Paso and Teller Counties, such as Red Rock Canyon and Section 16, Stratton Open Space, and Ute Valley Park.