Culebra Peak

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Title: Cielo Vista Ranch Land Rights Timeline

Entered by: kingshimmers

Added: 09/11/2020, Last Updated: 09/11/2020


The following is a chronology of the Cielo Vista Ranch (formerly Taylor Ranch) land rights:

1844: Mexico makes land grant to French-Canadian trapper Carlos Beaubien, who entices Spanish and Mexican settlers to colonize San Luis Valley by giving them strips of land with water and access to a communal mountain for grazing, logging and hunting.

1846-1848: Mexican War erupts over U.S. expansion and results in the United States gaining part of present-day Colorado.

1863: Beaubien gives settlers deeds to their land and grants rights to the commons the year before he dies. The deeds are the basis for access being granted to descendants today. His heirs sold it to Colorado's first territorial governor, William Gilpin.

1876: Colorado gains statehood.

1960: North Carolina lumberman Jack Taylor buys the property from a Gilpin successor and cuts off historic access, igniting a range war. He names it the Taylor Ranch; much of its timber is eventually logged.

1988: Taylor dies after years of violence. He pistol-whipped several men, and he was shot in the foot by a sniper in 1974.

1994: Zachary Taylor rejected an offer from the state to purchase the land for $15 million.

1999: Taylor's estate sells it to Enron executive Lou Pai for more than $20 million. Pai finishes purchasing the ranch.

2002: Colorado Supreme Court restores wood gathering and grazing rights to settlers' heirs but denies fishing, hunting and recreation.

2003: U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear an appeal by Pai.

June 2004: Pai sells the ranch to Texas ranchers Bobby and Dottie Hill and Richard and Kelly Welch for $60 million. They rename it Cielo Vista (Heavenly View).

June 2004: District Judge Gaspar Perricone grants nine San Luis Valley residents access under the 141-year-old deeds.

August 2004: The nine San Luis Valley residents get a key to all 10 gates.

April 2005: Judge approves access for more than 100 heirs of Spanish settlers.

July 2005: Judge certifies land-use rights for 410 more descendants.

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