New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


La Lucha por la Sierra

May 31, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Economy

On the ‘Continuous, Open, and Notorious Use’ of the Commons

by Devon G. Peña

Between 2002 and 2003, in a remarkable and much discussed series of three decisions, the Colorado Supreme Court restored the historic use rights of the plaintiffs in the Lobato v. Taylor land rights case. The legendary case involves plaintiffs’ use rights on 80,000 acres of common lands in the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant (merced). This is an alterNative paradigm unfolding right before our eyes…

The grant encompasses a total of 1 million acres and most of the 1843 merced was enclosed by private owners including the portion at stake in the Rael-Lobato trilogy; on the New Mexico side of the grant, some of the land ended up in the public domain as part of the Kit Carson National Forest (including portions of the Valle Vidal) but local heirs successfully re-acquired title to more than 30,000 acres as part of what is today known as the Rio Costilla Cooperative Livestock Association (RCCLA) lands. (more…)