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Pikes Peak, immortalized in Katherine Lee Bates’s "America the Beautiful" with its "purple mountain majesties," stands through time as a landmark of national significance. The snow-capped summit of Pikes Peak and the surrounding forests and meadows below are a testament to the grandness and grace of these lands.
The wildlife corridors, ecosystems, and stunning vistas of the land surrounding and tucked under Pikes Peak inspired Enos Mills, the father of Rocky Mountain National Park, to propose a national park here more than a century ago.
Ultimately a national park was not established, and, sadly, Pikes Peak was losing its open lands faster than nearly any other comparably-sized region in the nation. Scenic degradation, habitat loss, and land fragmentation are the results. In addition, this area serves as a critical elk migration corridor and calving area.
However, efforts to protect the stunning views around the mountain began in 1992 when Al Hagedorn donated an easement to Palmer after consulting neighboring ranchers and obtaining their blessings. Since then, thanks to willing private landowners, Palmer Land Conservancy and numerous stakeholders and partners have worked diligently to protect the scenic views around America’s Mountain.
Today, the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor represents over 20 years of work to create a 6,000-acre block of protected public open space and private ranches that frame the famed mountain’s northern slope between Woodland Park and Divide. Palmer holds easements on more than 4,900 of the 6,000 protected acres. Without the support of private landowners, this project would not be possible. The protected landscape also connects to Mueller State Park, further keeping this iconic landscape intact.
When you drive along Highway 24 in Woodland Park and Divide communities, take a deep breath in and enjoy the spectacular scenery still intact because of this project. After taking a tour in 2002, former Colorado attorney general, U.S. senator, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor “one of the crown jewels” of open space preservation in the state.
Conserving land in communities like this boosts tourism, attracts jobs, enhances property values, and saves billions in government expenditures. It also strengthens our communities and enriches our health and well-being and quality of life. Thanks to these visionary and thoughtful landowners, the captivating beauty and diversity of the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor are preserved forever.