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.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
New Mexico county restricts public access to historic road
Wealthy land owners have made a big push to keep the public away from their property. But they’re also keeping them away from a beautiful spot that’s been open to the public for more than 100 years and the government let them have their way. For more than 100 years, people have been able to drive through the the Monticello Canyon. It’s an 17-mile stretch of dirt road that runs along side and through the Alamosa Creek. The road is an easy four-wheel drive through a beautiful canyon called the Monticello Box. The canyon’s eastern entrance is about 90 miles southwest of Socorro. Half of the road is in Socorro County. The other half is in Sierra County.
“It truly is at the county border in the middle of the wildnerness,” said Delilah Walsh, the Socorro County Manager.
Recently a Texas oil man bought land near the Monticello Canyon. He banded together with other surrounding land owners and petitioned both counties and last August those counties locked up the road.
“The man has a Texas rancher mentality – lock the gate, keep the hell off my land,” said Tom Stroup, the President of Friends of the Box, a group fighting to keep the road open to the public.
The land owners say people have been leaving the public road and trespassing on their property. They recorded video, they say, shows people stealing wood from their private property, barbecuing off the main road and climbing rocks on private land.
“They were concerned about use on their private property and people trespassing, the littering and the amount of traffic and the inability of the sheriff’s office to respond (because of it’s remote location),” said Walsh.
Visitors can get access to the canyon and the road if they buy a $25 land permit from the New Mexico State Land Office. The road will also be open during the hunting season.
The Socorro County Manager told KRQE News 13 that the road is difficult to maintain and is prone to flooding.
Aubrey Dunn, the Commission of Public Lands also wrote a letter in August to the Monticello Community Ditch Association saying part of the land that is chained off is “blocking access to State Trust Land” and “cannot allow this hindrance of access to our land.”...more