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Local non-profits join forces in land conservation effort

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Palmer Land Conservancy, a regional land conservation champion, along with ten other outdoor recreation and land conservation nonprofits announced the launch of Elevate the Peak. The initiative is focused on the development of a 10-year implementation plan of current and future land conservation and recreation efforts in the Pikes Peak region.

Elevate the Peak is led by an 11-person Leadership Council and will bring together the conservation, outdoor recreation, and the public, private, and philanthropic sectors through an engagement initiative, including web-based community engagement.

Organizers say it's an effort to better understand how Coloradans use outdoor spaces in the Pikes Peak Region, and how to best protect it.

"We need to come together as a region," says Rebecca Jewett, CEO of Palmer Land Conservancy.

"We have to identify: what are our goals? What do we want our outdoors to look like five years from now? Ten years from now and even further into the future for future generations? So this is an effort to listen to the community."

Elevate the Peak is asking the communities of El Paso, Fremont, Park, and Teller Counties to share input on regional priorities forecast over the next ten years.

To kick off the project, community members are invited to participate and connect to the effort by taking a short five-minute survey and sign up for updates.

The survey for Elevate the Peak consists of questions going over what excites, inspires, and concerns Pikes Peak residents. That data will contribute to an effort looking to better and protect the area.

Elevate the Peak is the first time a land conservation effort has covered an entire region, versus specific areas.

"We have amazing plans with the city of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, our forest service has good plans, but all of those are very isolated to specific areas," says Jewett.

The non-profits involved have split up responsibilities in this conservation effort, with some focusing on trail work, habitat protection, and agricultural protection.

The survey can be found on the Elevate the Peak website's homepage.

The regional Leadership Council representing El Paso, Teller, Park, and Fremont counties include:

  • Chris Aaby, Catamount Institute
  • Charlotte Bumgarner, Gold Belt Byway Association
  • Susan Davies, Trails and Open Space Coalition
  • Carol Ekarius, Coalition for the Upper South Platte
  • Maggie Hanna, Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust
  • Rebecca Jewett, Palmer Land Conservancy
  • Becky Leinweber, Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance
  • Mina Liebert, Pikes Peak Community Foundation
  • Jennifer Peterson, Rocky Mountain Field Institute
  • Ashlee Sack, Fremont Adventure Recreation
  • Cory Sutela, Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates
Colorado Outdoors / Lifestyle / Local News / Video
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Natalie Haddad

Natalie is a traffic reporter and MMJ for Good Morning Colorado and KRDO. You can learn more about her here.

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