More on this petition:
Strawberry Fields...Forever Protect Iconic Open Space & A Thriving Wildlife Community "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike." - John Muir The Broadmoor Hotel is an historic, powerful icon in the City of Colorado Springs which has long been an asset to this stunningly beautiful tourist destination. The hotel is surrounded by quiet, residential area and protected public open space owned currently by the public via the City of Colorado Springs and the National Forestry. The open space supports a thriving wildlife community including raccoons, squirrels, pikas, gophers, rabbits, deer, foxes, bears, lions, coyotes, lynx, owls, magpies, hummingbirds and other native and migrating birds. The hotel would like to swap some of the land they own for some of the most iconic open space in Colorado. Of greatest concern is 189 acres, commonly known as Strawberry Fields which is currently protected open space as part of the Cheyenne Cañon Park. Though it keeps changing, we think the hotel would like to use 8.5 acres of the land to build commercial horse stables and outdoor entertainment venue. While this may sound lovely, it was not until April 11th, 3 months into the process (after months of begging from the public to see more details given over a year of planning purportedly went into this though we can find no public records of these discussions), before we had any depictions beyond an outline of acreage on a map. Still, there are no detailed development, site or architectural plans regarding the scope or use beyond an outline of the building envelope and some general comments regarding an outdoor kitchen, pony riding operations and a 100 person outdoor entertainment venue for weddings and parties. What about music in a canyon which has high reverb? What about increased traffic, pollution and crime in an area that is bursting at the seams from the recent recreational expansions. No wildlife, recreational or economic impact studies. Further, what about future development? Though a Conservation Easement has been discussed, it is not completed and will not be until after a vote to agree to swap the land to the City would be made. This is a backwards process. What if the CE doesn't go through? Additionally, amendments or terminations of conservation easements are at record highs. The development of the interior of the land will change the character of the land conserved around it allowing for changes or terminations to the easement. So, then, what is to prevent the hotel from developing the other 181 acres with, for example, an outdoor amphitheater (something they have tried to pass before which neighbors fought -- Red Rocks amphitheater is heard miles away, 100 times a year, and has been an ongoing battle for the residents of Morrison, Colorado), a theater playhouse (a la Branson), rides, etc...? If all the hotel wants is picnics and pony rides, then why not consider other options like leasing the land from the City who can then use that revenue to improve trails? If the City doesn't have the funds, they can raise them or wait until they do. Or, if the Broadmoor is anxious to develop trails for their guests, they can donate the money they would've spent to build them to the Friends of Cheyenne Cañon or the City to develop the trails and leave the land and wildlife protected and open. No, this would be like selling land in front of Maroon Bells to Hilton. It's bad for the wildlife, the citizens of Colorado Springs and our visitors. Because of the considerable risks to the wildlife and the character of the community including increased traffic, crime and pollution which would evolve from further potential development of the land, we oppose this land-swap deal. We believe the iconic Strawberry Fields should remain in the trust of the public via the City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation. By signing this petition, you are not only helping a community retain its character, but, more importantly, you are protecting the lives of countless, voiceless animals who call this their home. You are sending a message that profit-seeking activities need to be in balance with animals, people and our planet who must come first. Phil Anschutz acquired the hotel from the Gaylord family's Oklahoma Publishing Company in 2011. Since then, major investments and expansions in and around the Broadmoor have changed the landscape of this peaceful community. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo added exhibits which created the need for buses to be used to handle the increased traffic to the zoo. Cloud Camp, Emerald Valley and a Fly Fishing School have also been added increasing traffic and tourism to this wildlife sanctuary. We wish Mr. Anschutz hearty success; however, there's a limit to what a residential and wildlife community can sustain. We have reached that limit. Please sign this petition. Protect our parks and the wildlife that make their homes in Strawberry Fields...forever. Your comments are welcome and invaluable -- please do leave comments as they are important, but please no use of profanity. We want your voice to be heard, but we will be forced to delete them if they contain profane language. Thank you for keeping it a respectful discourse. :-) Be sure to check the box to include your name. It will not be published except for the downloadable list of signatures. Comments are the only place where the names are included on the online petition. If you did not include you name, then do go back and check that.