EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso City Council is taking the final step to make sure one thousand acres of mountainside land in Northwest El Paso, once targeted for development, will stay untouched.
After years of preservationists fighting to save the land in the Lost Dog trail area, city leaders checked the last box to make sure the land remains untouched forever.
“This finally puts a period and an exclamation point at the end of a long journey, over 20 years, of trying to save this parcel,” preservationist Rick Bonart shared.
City Council previously postponed the decision to lock in an official conservation easement.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting, city leaders unanimously voted to move forward with the process, further securing protection of the land, and bringing in a third party to keep watch over it.
“Natural resources, trails, open space are time and time shown to be one of the top priorities for communities to have access to,” City Rep Peter Svarzbein said, “In the case of what we did here, separate from the ballot initiative, was going and showing the importance by this council of preservation of open space to go above and beyond.”
You’ll remember last May, voters overwhelmingly chose to preserve the thousand acres of open space near Transmountain road.
“There was not one district that had below 85% of the voters who voted to save Lost Dog. People in the far Lower Valley that have maybe only a distant connection, realized that this is part of our mountain, part of our heritage, that open space is important to our community and they wanted it preserved,” Bonart shared.
City Council eventually dissolved the tax zone that had been set up near the Lost Dog trail which removed the chances of future development.
As for now, the land is expected to remain as it is.
“We know that we have the largest urban state park in the country. We know that the border is a blessing, and we know that we have to do what we can to make sure that we keep and protect these future opportunities and resources for future generations here in El Paso,” Svarzbein added.
City staff said there is currently an unidentified cost for the conservation easement, but they’re confident there will be funding to cover it.