Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pinon Canyon

Peter and Wing asked me whilst they were here to visit the last couple of days about the signs they saw on the highway on the way into town.

"This Land Not For Sale To The Army"

"No Pinon Canyon Expansion"

This, understandably, confused them. This issue hasn't really made a lot of waves as far as I know outside of the state of Colorado.

But, perhaps it should.

Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site is a training site for the US Army, located outside of Trinidad. Take a moment and look that up on google. Got it? Good.

The initial map of proposed expansion to occur over the course of five years, detailed that they would expand that site from where it currently is, roughly to the southern Colorado state line, east to the Kansas state line, and north to US Highway 50.

And kick everyone out.

Since I live within the area that would be, by the original plan, "acquired" in year five of this plan, and most of our land is in the "future expansion area" I sort of have a problem with this. (A map leaked to the public detailing the original draft of the plan can be found here The LaJunta Tribune-Democrat found it to be a bit obscure so they did their digging and made it a bit easier to read here.)

It's been an uphill battle for farmers and ranchers in this area to oppose this, without being painted as anti-military. We aren't. We're anti land-grabbing.

Some of the "sparse population" has been on their land for generations. Many ranchers can take you to the crumbling adobe or sandstone-block hut where their grandfather or great grandfather or his father homesteaded their land, and they're proud to do so.

This is their heritage, their livelihood, and their love.

The area targeted also feeds half a million to a million people, annually.

The people here, and all across the proposed expansion area, are tough. They work hard every day to make a living and they, being among what some would consider "throwbacks," don't take kindly to the idea that anyone, even the Army, would come and attempt to take their homes and the land that they love from them.

So they've created the Pinon Canyon Opposition Coalition to make their voices heard. Those are the signs along the highways, bringing attention to an issue that shouldn't be hushed up.

Seventeen thousand, two hundred and sixty three.

That's the number in the Army's own proposal (released October of '08 see it here) used as an estimate for total "displaced population" at the end of phase five.

6,914,328 acres in total. Functionally, the entirety of southeastern Colorado.

So far, congress has refused funding. Next year, that may change, and thousands of people, including myself and the Farm Fam, may be "displaced."

Look at the information, look at any information you can find, and make up your own minds, but for me, there's no question.

This Land Is Not For Sale To The Army.


bluesun said...

I'm from western CO, going to school up in MT, but I haven't heard of this at all. Passed along to everyone I know in CO. Is there a gubernatorial candidate who you would support?

FarmGirl said...

bluesun, just considering the Pinon Canyon issue, Hickenlooper is tentatively against the expansion, but he's hedging, on EVERYTHING. And, frankly, Obama likes him which is a point against him in my mind. McInnis hasn't really made his official stance clear.

Right now, there isn't a candidate that I'm aware of that I would support, I'm afraid we're going to come down to a choice of the lesser of two evils.

Of course, voting according to a stance on a single issue is usually a bad idea anyway, just look at Ritter... he was opposed to expanding Pinon Canyon but he also bent the entire state over on new vehicle taxes.

mustanger said...

I saw a small write-up on this issue in Western Horseman... probably a little over a year ago... wondered how that was going. I'm from Georgia, and I'm opposed to land-grabbing too. With as many of my family who died fighting for the Confederacy or in Yankee POW camps, I could conceivably throw in some talk about the "damn carpetbaggers", but I won't. What I will say is the gov't as it has been being run has gone further and further with ignoring and undermining private property rights... emminent domain and such. It's contrary to the Founders vision and it must stop.

Farmgirl, Do you listen to Glenn Beck? Last I knew, he was talking about "2010, In or Out?" We have to fire the current elected people and get people of good character in there who will use good common sense and fight for the rights of individual people.

I'll leave this rambling right here for now.

Jon said...

There are much better areas for training. Washington D.C. comes to mind. They might even get rid of some criminals in the process, although the worst will probably fly home on our dime, and escape.

Well Seasoned Fool said...

For something to be for sale, it must be paid for. Based on past history, the Feds are very slow to pay.
Example. Camp Hale near Leadville was created out of ranch land owned by Frank and Pauline Byers. During WWII, they were given, in August, 30 days to "git". Anything left they lost; hay, livestock, machinery, household, etc. The government didn't pay the Byers until nearly 1960.

The Army needs someplace to train at a divisional level, they claim. Since WWII they have been able to train at that level at existing facilities.

Perhaps the answer is for the Army to lease the land they need for the short period they need for their training, probably no more than six weeks at a time, with due consideration for the agriculture cycles.

Old NFO said...

Interesting, as this is supposedly what NTC was built/bought for... Hope y'all can defeat it!

Keith said...

For whatever it's worth, a Texas Senator and Congressman just got emails expressing my thoughts on this.

FarmGirl said...

Well Seasoned Fool-

White Sands was "leased."

Also, if the Army had requested a lease to start with they probably would have gotten a sweet deal... we're patriotic sorts here. But once the idea of eminent domain was raised, it got people's backs up and right now the Army couldn't lease an outhouse for a million dollars here.

bluesun said...

I have met enough crazy farmers and ranchers in CO and MT to know that if they are against something, you DON'T want to get within range...

TOTWTYTR said...

I'm truly shocked at the amount of land the Army wants to take for a training area.

Isn't there some less populated area of the country that they could use?

From my totally civilian perspective, it certainly would seem that Fort Irwin with it's 1,000 sq miles of training area would be sufficient.

mustanger said...

I recall what they say... "anything temporary has a way of becoming permanent." But that lasts until We the People revoke our consent to be governed by tyrants.

I'm not suggesting anything, but bluesun's post and this subject in general reminds me of a movie called "Stranger On My Land". My point bringing this up is that they illustrated how the gov't feels they can take what they want, but don't ask them for a reason. Just accept that they have a better use for your property than you have in living on it and making a living on it. Which is a ridiculous notion they're selling.

Regarding Camp Hale, can anyone say theft and destruction of property?

Pawpaw said...

I wouldn't be the first time the government has taken land. The same thing happened pre-WWII at fort Knox, Ky and lots of other places. Knox and Polk are the two I'm most familiar with.

At Knox, the Army promised to keep family graveyards "in perpetuity" and the last time I was there we'd find little family graveyards in the maneuver area. Tidily fenced, nicely mowed, with the headstones level. It looked like they were keeping that part of the bargain.