Colo. Hispanics Fight for Rights to the Taylor Ranch

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Eugene Lobato

Eugene Lobato, 74, is one of the Costilla County, Colo., ranchers who benefited from a historic court decision that gives him usage rights to the mountain called La Sierra, visible in the background. John Burnett, NPR hide caption

toggle caption John Burnett, NPR

Residents of Colorado's San Luis valley have battled for more than 40 years to regain access to 77,000 acres of privately owned land where they once had the right — under an 1844 Mexican Land Grant — to hunt, graze cattle and collect firewood.

Ten years ago, a Colorado judge upheld their claims, ordering Jack Taylor, a private property owner, to share his ranch with families who claimed the ancestral right. But the attempt to reconcile private and communal land rights is not going particularly well.

Correction Jan. 16, 2007

There are two errors in the audio version of this story The land grant cited is a Mexican land grant from 1844. And the Colorado Supreme Court ruled in favor of families in the tract known as La Sierra in 2002 (not 1992).



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