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Land grants and the U.S. Forest Service

Raish, Carol; McSweeney, Alice M. 2008. Land grants and the U.S. Forest Service. Natural Resources Journal. 48(4): 1039-1055.

The U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) has a long, shared history with the land grants of northern New Mexico. During the land grant adjudication process after U.S. conquest, much common land from both Spanish and Mexican land grants was declared public domain, eventually becoming part of the northern and central New Mexico National Forests. These forests were established during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Other lands went into private ownership and were later sold to the government. This paper focuses on the contemporary situation concerning land grants and the Forest Service. We explore current land-loss issues through the theoretical and historical framework of other indigenous cultures, whose experience with a colonizing force mirrors that of the initial northern New Mexico land grantees. This paper presents interview results with land grant heirs, now grazing permittees on the Carson and Santa Fe National Forests, and with Forest Service personnel in terms of resolving land- and resource-loss problems. A federal solution might include compromise on both sides for present-day problems deriving from past actions and policies of the Forest Service. We explore the question: Is there a middle ground or some area of agreement that would lower tensions and ameliorate, if not resolve, the conflict between land grant heirs and the federal government?

Keywords: land grants, Forest Service, northern New Mexico

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Land grants and the U.S. Forest Service
Electronic Publish Date: December 23, 2009
Last Update:
December 23, 2009

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