20 August 2008 at 8:44:15 AM
A week or so ago I saw a fairly innocuous article about Bobby Hill, one of the owners of a ranch named Culebra Peak. The article was obviously written from his point of view (he owns the Hill Ranch on Hwy 67 West in Glen Rose) and talked about people paying 100 dollars to come on the property and, presumably, elk hunt, since that's what hsi Colorado ranch offers.
The mountain, which rises above the town of San Luis, just north of the New Mexico border, is the only fourteener in North America that lies entirely on private land. It sits in the middle of the 77,000-acre Cielo Vista Ranch. Anyone who wants to climb it must make a reservation, show up at the ranch gate promptly at 6 a.m. and present a check for $100, payable to the Texas millionaire who owns the place....
But there's actually been a court case (more than one) about who gets to go onto that property, and, according to a fairly recent judge ruling, it isn't just those who line up at the gate and pay 100 bucks. Apparently the ranch used to be called the Taylor Ranch and some Costilla County residents wanted to have, and got, legal access to the mountain for purposes of firewood gathering and timber cutting. From Alamosa News July 25, 2008
While this month brought a victory for some Costilla County residents seeking access to La Sierra, formerly known as the Taylor Ranch, other residents are still fighting their way through the court system in an attempt to gain access to the mountain.
Land Rights Council Inc. President Shirley Romero-Otero said more than 300 individuals from El Rito (also known as San Francisco) won a long-awaited court ruling this month to gain access to the mountain for purposes of grazing, firewood gathering and timber cutting.
The Land Rights Council just received that list of newly accessed residents on Thursday. “We are very happy for them because they have been waiting for a long time,” Romero-Otero said.
Judge Gaspar Perricone, assigned to La Sierra legal issues, granted El Rito residents access during a status hearing earlier this month. The approximately 319 El Rito individuals who won that right will receive “la llave” to La Sierra entrance points at the next key distribution date. “That allows them to enter the mountain from any one of the gates and graze, gather firewood or timber,” Romero-Otero explained.
Also graze their livestock. I expect they won't be paying $100 to get in. Here's more timeline. And here's an article, with audio, from NPR about the Colorado hispanics who were and are figihting for the right to access Taylor Ranch.
And from 1997, a NYTimes article with more background.
It is the hottest environmental dispute in the Rockies today. Logging trucks have been blockaded six times in the last year, resulting in 54 arrests, largely of environmentalists allied with the Hispanic farmers.
Logging companies are cutting about one-third of the trees on Mr. Taylor's high-altitude estate, the watershed for the southeastern portion of the San Luis Valley. In the Rockies, commercial logging is rare, largely because low rainfall, high altitudes and cold weather slow the growth of trees.
The timber operation on Mr. Taylor's property is the largest in the state. Down in the valley, farmers say that deforestation is eroding hillsides and clogging with sediment their ''acequia'' irrigation system, a century-old network of hand-dug ditches. In a valley where the average annual rainfall ranges from 4 to 9 inches, a healthy acequia means the difference between a productive farm and a sagebrush desert.
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1 - Kay gee
19 Mar 2012 @ 2:21:16 PM
The $100 is to climb to the top of Culebra Peak, which is the only fourteener in Colorado on private land. Elk hunting is around $8000.
Not everyone can lay claim to the land...just a few...
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