Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Hikers land in middle of Telluride trail feud
For decades, hikers have traversed the wildflower-carpeted Bear Creek basin above Telluride, following the popular Wasatch Trail Loop. While the trail cuts across several private and long-dormant mining claims, no landowner has ever protested. That is, not until infamous land speculator Tom Chapman arrived in the roadless alpine valley. When Chapman and his partner, Ron Curry, acquired a strategic swath of mining claims in early 2010, they immediately proclaimed the land closed to all recreational traffic, citing liability concerns. As foot traffic ramped up this summer, Chapman and Curry launched a campaign warning hikers that the popular trail was closed. They staked "no trespassing" signs and sent out e-mail blasts with photos of what they say are armed guards on their property. They posted regular ads in local newspapers promising prosecution of trespassers. Despite the bluster, Judy Schutza, the Forest Service district ranger overseeing the public lands in the region, says the trail is open. "We think it is a public trail, and it's been a public trail for quite a while," she said, arguing that historical use supports public access — or an implied, or prescriptive, easement — across the private land. Curry said Schutza — who he calls a "renegade ranger" — is breaking the law by condoning trespass...more