Sunday, May 05, 2024

A billionaire’s fence is the latest fault line in a 150-year-old San Luis Valley land war

 SAN LUIS — For more than 150 years, going back to when this high desert of sandy arroyos and snow-capped peaks was ceded by Mexico, they have gone to “the mountain” as part of their survival.

Like their ancestors who settled in the San Luis Valley before it was even Colorado, the descendants still gather firewood and graze their livestock on what they call “La Sierra” — more than 100 square miles of juniper and piñon pine forest rising to a 20-mile stretch of the saw-toothed Sangre de Cristo range. 

That was the deal made when the valley was subdivided in the mid-1800s. The settlers each got a plot of desert with access to an acequia irrigation ditch, and they were allowed to go into the high country to harvest timber, hunt deer and elk, and graze their cattle and sheep. 

The arrangement for the heirs of the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant of 1844 has remained mostly in place even as a line of wealthy men have purchased the land — not always peacefully, but with court battles, armed security guards, suspected arson and even a shooting

Now, the battle line between the current billionaire landowner, who is the son of a Texas oil baron, and the few thousand descendants with a legal right to use the land is a fence...more 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What did the Hispanics who had the land grant do before the "privileged white men" came and bought it? History shows that the original grantees screwed their Hispanic relatives out of their share of the grant, and then sold the land to "privileged white men" . Follow the money! Where did the money go? Why were there no deeds to other Hispanic families? The whole tale of lies, theft and avarice is well documented in many books about Land Grants in New Mexico and Colorado.