Mora County Commission Rescinds Support of Pecos Wilderness Expansion and Issues its Own Resolution

Editor’s Note: La Jicarita first reported back in 2012  about the movement to expand the boundaries of the Pecos Wilderness. New Mexico Wilderness Alliance member John Olivas came to Vadito to meet with acequia and land grant representatives about his group’s plan (along with the New Mexico Wilderness Society) to include 130,000 acres of roadless areas on all sides of the extant Pecos Wilderness. The consensus at that meeting was loud and clear: “The Forest Service hasn’t protected our grant up to now so we don’t think they’d do any better with this.”

At the time Olivas was chair of the Mora County Commission and pushed through a county resolution in support of the Pecos Wilderness expansion. You may recall that while Olivas was in office he also pushed through the Mora County Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government Ordinance that banned all oil and gas development in Mora County. The county was subsequently sued by the oil and gas industry and several private landowners in two lawsuits and the ordinance was struck down as unconstitutional in district court in January of 2015 . Olivas was not reelected to the county commission, and in April of 2015 the newly elected commission repealed the ordinance. The lawsuits were subsequently dropped.

Olivas and the wilderness groups continue to push forward with proposal to expand the Pecos. They’ve appeared before the Taos County Commission several times as well as at meetings held in Peñasco, where once again the local folks voted down the proposal. On March 17 the Mora County Commission rescinded the wilderness resolution and issued a resolution that emphasizes cultural heritage and the need for forest restoration work. Here is the text of that resolution:

Wilderness Resolution-1


Wilderness Resolution-2 








  1. Bravo to the Mora County Commission on yet another pro-active decision to protect the people. the land, and the way of life for the residents of Mora County.

  2. The possibility for more coherently coordinated policies with a new designation has many potential benefits. For instance the grazing association is encouraged to push the cows up high, but the unintended result is the cows end up trampling and damaging the restricted headwater marshes.

    And for another instance there could be a maximum decibel level set for guests in the forest. I think the first cultural tradition for using the forest was on foot. The following traditional use was on horse and foot until the 1900s and the forest was traditionally quiet until then and hard work was the tradition.

    More recently, in the 1900s an increase of noise came with the increased carrying capacity of noisy combustion engines which also encouraged oil well drilling, and some non-biodegradable trash was driven into the forest . Now in the 2000s an even louder non-traditional noise level is increasingly intrusively polluting the forest and new policies could encourage (could phase in) only low decibel electric vehicles and machines in the forest, re-chargeable by small footprint/low impact (no dams necessary) hydropower, returning us to the early traditional noise levels.

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