Land grant heirs to celebrate end of long litigation

SAN LUIS — A two-day celebration is being planned by the Land Rights Council and plaintiffs in the lengthy litigation to celebrate the end of 59 years of struggle and 37 years of litigation.
The celebration will begin from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 with a reception and film screening at Centennial School.
On Saturday, Aug. 31, opening prayers will be led by Grupo Tlaloc on La Vega, one of the last two public commons remaining in the United States. From noon to 5 p.m., a lunch and recognition ceremony will be held, and then Indian Nickel will play for a dance from 8 p.m. to midnight

A long story
Filed in 1981, Lobato v. Taylor was considered the state’s longest lasting civil suit until new land owner William Harrison and representative of heirs to the vast mountain tract agreed to cooperate.
 The struggle began when when New Bern, N.C. lumber Baron Jack Taylor acquired the vast mountain tract and began fencing it.
It went through several owners until Harrison bought the ranch and began meeting with the plaintiffs.
After a long fought battle and numerous lower and higher court decisions, nearly 1,000 people now have legal access rights to Cielo Vista Ranch-La Sierra.
Landowner William Harrison and community leaders recently agreed to create a self-governing oversight committee to create policies and procedures to protect both local legal access rights and the natural resources of Cielo Vista Ranch-La Sierra.
.Harrison and community members have agreed to clarify the rules and guidelines for local grazing and firewood gathering while maintaining Harrison’s landowner rights and the health of the environment.
The oversight committee would be comprised of local representatives and Harrison, with decisions made by consensus agreement.
Attendees agreed that any illegal or abusive behavior should be stopped, the legal access rights should be protected, while any violations of the court rulings should face consequences and penalties.
Several sub-committees are also being formed in specific categories: land use management, grazing, rules/policy/procedures, lumber management, fire mitigation and others. Local expertise is being solicited to participate in the sub-committees and make recommendations to the oversight committee.



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