Colorado Springs sits in a spectacular natural setting along Colorado’s Front Range, with stunning views of Pikes Peak and the front range mountains from almost every part of the city. It is an outdoor-lovers paradise — but the city’s stunning landscapes, trails and open spaces would likely not be accessible or even still available had it not been for the forethought and commitment from the City of Colorado Springs and its conservation partners many decades ago.

By developing an open space program in 1997, the city helped lay the groundwork to securing the area’s stunning viewshed and natural features for future generations. The resulting protected open space in the Pikes Peak area supports critical wildlife habitat and the region’s booming recreation economy. According to a 2016 study, Colorado Spring’s recreation tourism generates $178 million in sales annually, demonstrating that parks, trails and open spaces are significant contributors to the city’s economy.


In 2019, the City of Colorado Springs sought our help to assist with the protection of their top priority open space acquisitions. Our expertise in land conservation, and the ready capital available through our Revolving Fund made us well-equipped to step in and purchase at-risk properties when they went up for sale. When a landowner desires to sell their property quickly, but the city’s resources aren’t readily available, we’re able to bridge that gap and hold a property until our partner has sufficient funds to purchase it.

The citizens of Colorado Springs approved a dedicated sales tax program in 1997 called TOPS (Trails, Open Space and Parks) to purchase open spaces. With this dedicated funding, the city has created a diverse system of parks, trails, and open space to serve the growing community and retain the qualities that draw residents and visitors.

Two high-priority properties we’ve already helped the city protect include:

Pikeview Quarry Buffer

The Pikeview Buffer property is located in the northwest corner of Colorado Springs, just south of the Air Force Academy. The 148-acre property was under consideration for the development of 244 single family homes. When the landowner indicated their willingness to sell the land for conservation, we worked with them and the city to protect the property in perpetuity.

Adjacent to existing open space, this “Pikeview Buffer” is a key component of a larger vision to protect the Front Range Mountain Backdrop and extend the Chamberlain Trail. The Pikeview Buffer will integrate into a significant network of parks and provide new recreational access and connectivity to existing trails at Pike National Forest and the Blodgett Open Space. It’s also being considered for a new world-class bike park.

“It’s rare to find opportunities of this scale along the Front Range Mountain Backdrop. We are honored to partner with the city on this incredible opportunity to conserve important wildlife habitat and create new recreation opportunities for the public.”

—Justin Spring, Colorado State Director

Fisher’s Canyon

We also helped the city add 343 acres known as Fisher’s Canyon to their Open Space Program. The property is located on the eastern face of Cheyenne Mountain and stretches over 2,500 vertical feet in elevation — prominently featured in the Colorado Spring’s western skyline view. In fact, the area’s natural beauty and uninterrupted view of the Front Range is what inspired Katharine Lee Bates to write the poem “America the Beautiful.”

The Fisher’s Canyon property was under major threat of development before we stepped in, having received preliminary approval of 70 homes. The property is bounded by single-family residential development, a U.S. Air Force facility, the Pike National Forest, and Cheyenne Mountain State Park. The site was extremely attractive for development, especially as the city’s population grew and the value of residential and commercial properties rose.

Conserving this property was integral to the Colorado Springs’ Parks Master Plan. It filled in existing gaps within the Open Space system and will allow the city to complete the long-awaited Chamberlain Trail, which runs along the city’s entire western boundary, doubling the miles of recreational trails. New potential connections to Cheyenne Mountain State Park and the Pike National Forest are also anticipated to serve growing recreational demands while also protecting wildlife habitat and scenic views.

“When this property came along — 343 acres with development potential — you can't hesitate. It's really the partnership with The Conservation Fund that makes it all possible."

—Britt Haley, TOPS Program Manager