Knapp Land | Photo courtesy Frontera Land Alliance
The Frontera Land Alliance announced Tuesday that El Paso City Council approved conservation-easement agreements on two large properties adjoining the Franklin Mountains: the more than a thousand-acre “Lost Dog” on the Northwest side and the 353-acre
“Knapp Land” in the Northeast.
By supporting the preservation of these lands, El Pasoans allow Frontera to work with new partners to ensure the lands will be protected in perpetuity.
“They are preserved in part thanks to Frontera’s many individual donors as well as the El Paso Community Foundation in partnership with Dr. Richard Teschner, the Conservation Alliance, the Texas Land Trust Council and a foundation that chose anonymity,” Frontera officials share. “Both Lost Dog and Knapp Land will forever remain open space due to the generous dedication and the consignment of land-use rights to Frontera by the City of El Paso and El Paso Water.”
The agreements are the product of more than 18 months of negotiations between the City and Frontera, the El Paso area’s only 501(c)3 nationally-accredited land-trust organization.
“A heartfelt thank-you to the many persons, volunteers, voters, and entities that worked tirelessly over so many years in order to make the Conservation Easements a reality for both the Knapp Land and the Lost Dog properties. I was honored and humbled to vote ‘Yes’ to preserve these lands as open space in perpetuity,” stated Joe Molinar, City Representative District 4, which includes the Knapp Land.
District 2 City Representative Annello (whose district begins just blocks away from the Knapp Land) was also pleased with the outcome.
“One of my first commitments entering into office was and will continue to be ensuring that our open spaces and natural resources are protected. It has been a pleasure to work with the Frontera Land Alliance and “Save Our Sierras” organization to finalize the Knapp Land Conservation Agreement. This is a major win for our local environment and I was happy to play my part.”
District 1’s City Representative Peter Svarzbein reacted enthusiastically as well.
“The cultivation and presentation of open space opportunities is and has been a priority for my office. The Lost Dog trails are one treasure in our desert landscape that generations will now be able to enjoy because of the actions we have taken together to make sure it remains as is in perpetuity. It is a great day for El Paso.”
Frontera is legally entitled to negotiate and hold easements, which are permanently-binding agreements between land owners (in this case the City of El Paso) and Frontera. Frontera ensures the terms of the agreements are honored and the properties kept free of unauthorized uses.
Conservation easements are crafted with willing landowners to permanently limit or prevent certain uses on the land while allowing other uses to take place. By applying a conservation easement to these properties, Frontera ensures the terms of the agreements are followed and the conservation values are protected.
The Lost Dog land adjoins the Franklin Mountains State Park to the east and residential areas to the south and west. Lost Dog is well known as a place to bike and hike on trails connected to those inside the state park. As a result of 89% voter approval of Proposition A on May 4 th , 2019, the City agreed to preserve these lands.
The terms of the Lost Dog conservation easement ensure that it is permanently protected for natural open space and passive recreation and does not allow any construction.
The Knapp Land’s history is different. On June 11th, 2020, the El Paso City Council unanimously approved that the City work with Frontera to negotiate an easement.
The property had been purchased by the City in early 2018 with Quality-of-Life “Open Space” voter-approved bond money plus supplements from the El Paso Water Stormwater Fund. On the June 11th date, City Council unanimously approved that the City work with Frontera to negotiate an easement. In general terms, the City agreed that “Knapp” be used for wildlife, water conservation and passive recreation.
The Frontera Land Alliance (Frontera) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of the Chihuahuan desert’s natural lands, water, and wildlife as well as working farms and ranches in Far-West Texas and southern New Mexico.