EL PASO COUNTY — A portion of land owned by a Colorado family for close to a century is now the newest addition to open space in El Paso County.
Santa Fe Open Space between the towns of Monument and Palmer Lake officially welcomed the public this week.
The property is 60 acres of natural beauty that Catherine McGuire has loved since she was a kid.
“Go through scrub oak, ponderosa, views of the front range, views of Ben Lomond Mountain behind me,” said McGuire. “Since the early 1900s, my grandfather bought it.”
The property was once owned by Colorado Springs founder General William Palmer but has been owned by McGuire’s family for nearly 100 years. It is now owned by El Paso County.
“Does it get any better than this,” asked Chairman of the El Paso County Commission, Stan VanderWerf.
The transfer of ownership is the result of McGuire and her brother working to protect the land.
“A long time ago when I was on the property, I kept wondering why I was so blessed to have this property and be able to live on it and it was just like a flash from above or somewhere and it said you’re supposed to preserve it,” said McGuire.
A moment of inspiration turned into years of work. The result was a conservation easement. It legally limits development on the land.
McGuire then sold the property to El Paso County for a park five years ago.
“There’s going to be one place which is always going to be the same,” said McGuire, “It’s always going to be an open space. It’s not going to be developed. It’s not going to be bulldozed down. So, there’s at least one chunk that’s going to be like it has been.”