The Criswell Range and Bell Mountain as seen in winter (mirrored). © 2007 - 2012
© 2007 - 2012
© 2007 - 2012
© 2007 - 2012

Welcome to Criswell Cattleguard!

Summer 2007...
SWARMCO Comes to the Rescue

SWARMCO is a privately owned company based in Nevada. Over the past few years they have helped us with various tasks that the board felt should be addressed. Like the making of maps that showed where our individual forty acre property lines are. And the plotting of roads and determining costs for building culverts or bridges. They also helped with other tasks that we were not able to handle alone.

When some owners had requested getting cabins erected on their property, SWARMCO undertook the task of designing a cabin and a trailer that could carry the material for cabins to remote areas of the Criswell. The prototype of the cabin was assembled on the property across U.S. 60 from Jackson Park in time for the 2007 Pie Festival. The acceptance of the cabin has been encouraging. They have four cabins kits to design and deliver at this writing. So SWARMCO asked that we publicize the cabin in the Cattleguard. When we told them that we could not afford to publish another issue and the Cattleguard would now only be published on, They offered to pay for the publishing and mailing if we would do the mailing. The executive committee thought that would be a good way to get a necessary message to all owners. So thanks to SWARMCO you are getting this last hard copy of the Cattleguard.

For more information about the Criswell Cabin
Go To:   and use the "Search our Site" feature to search for: criswell cabin
Or Call COG office in Pie Town
575 772 2773

Now comes those important messages
Criswell Cattleguard

Special EditionSummer 2007

From Criswell Cattleguard Staff:

     This message is being sent to all Criswell owners who have supplied us with their E mail address. The purpose of the multiple mailing is to try to answer quickly, the questions that were e mailed to us after the Cattleguard, December 2006 were received. The response was just too great to send individual answers. Consequently, there will be some of you who are going to get answers to questions that you did not ask. Some others will get messages and won’t know what it is about. But don’t worry; somebody out there wants the answer. Thanks for your patience.

     The first thing I want to say is that we have been able to raise enough to buy a used road grader from the $25 contributions to build the park. Most contributors are from outside of the Criswell area. The park itself is not the main thing. We could have had a park built by now. But what good is a park if you can’t get to it? So the main endeavor is to build the road. then we will build the other roads.

     We will now be able to build roads because we now know what is private land; state land and federal BLM land. And we have a road grader

     A few years back we tried to get sections surveyed by getting owners to share in the cost. We said that we would front the money for a section if we could get half of the owners to put up a survey deposit. We only were able to get one section surveyed. Some of those that did put up deposits offered to let us use their money to build roads. We tried to get some built. But the only piece of equipment we had was a dozer. It took too long and we couldn’t grade diversion dams and ditches with it. So what work we did do, would wash out in the next big rain. But with a grader we can raise the roadbed and grade the roads and diversion dams and ditches.

     Now about priorities. Those who contributed to the original survey and left their money in will naturally get priority consideration. Those who get priority and happen to be on the road to where the park is being built will get #1 priority. So what we call Bell Mountain Road will be the first area that we will work on. That is in the T3 R9 township, or eastern side of the Criswell. But we will not finish that side. We will break off and start building roads on the T3 R 10 or western side. Then we will go back to the eastern side and put in drive ways for those owners who want them and will issue easements if we need them. Please remember that easements already exist on the outside thirty feet of your property. We will try to stay on those easements, but we might have to ask you to trade land on the inside of your property for the easements.

     There have been quite a few who have offered their help in getting these improvements started. And we will take all of the help we can get. But scheduling this work is going to be one great big headache. So anyone who feels a desire to get their hands dirty should advise us as to when they can be available and what kind of bedding they will need. We have some campers and trailers that can be used and my place in Pie Town will be able to house anyone who does not require a luxurious camp.

     Now for you who have asked about getting GPS created coordinates. I can get the coordinates by putting a dot on my screen and clicking the mouse. Then I can print them. Now that doesn’t seem like a lot of work. But it is not what we yet have to do; it is what we have already done that drives this economy. So those who have contributed to the survey will get their coordinates without further payment, because it was their money that made it possible to get a surveyor to come out here and do the primary survey step with his expensive GPS gadget. That part of any survey is what costs. The fieldwork is just going out and driving stakes where they should be. In New Mexico, if a surveyor completes that part of a survey he or she must record it in the county office. That would have been costly to get all of the Criswell recorded. We opted out because we couldn’t pay for it. If you ever meet Richard Daley from Socorro he can tell you why the BLM didn’t survey any more than half of the Criswell allotment. They ran out of money. But you’ve read that before.

     So you who have not contributed before are being asked to help by contributing to what we are trying to do here. Which is getting roads built so property owners can at least get to their property. And those who want to sell can get a Real Estate office to list their property.

     When you contact the office be sure to give us your Name, Township, Range, Section, correct address e mail and phone number so we can get back in touch with you without having these heavy expenses.

     Now this will absolutely be the last bulk mailing of the Cattleguard. This one is necessary because the one we sent in January got pretty torn up in the mail and many have asked for copies. Sorry but you will have to go get it on the web page. So this is how to do that

Enter:    in your browser and go to GO or SEARCH.
Use whatever works best for you

Now, a word about the community center and park

     We all know that a park and community center is not needed out here. But on the other hand, as an icon of what this country once was, it could be an attraction and a meeting place. The land where the park is being built is now privately owned and the owner has promised to deed the property to COG in perpetuity if we meet certain requirements. The requirements are not difficult. They are simply to lay out and grade good useable roads and to construct some buildings that are reminiscent of the old west.

     As for the roads; about 60% of the existing roads can be repaired and graded with the dozer and grader that we have now. We raised the money for that equipment by getting contributions from people who do not own property on the Criswell. People who answered a promotional ad to contribute to the building of a park that would be reminiscent of the old west. Contributors to the park fund will get ownership to a share of the park. When the road to the park is able to handle traffic, we will have another promotional campaign.

     Those roads are the roads that will help you get to your property. And I for one am looking forward to showing you the roads we are going to build, especially those of you who said it couldn’t be done.

     Some owners have sent us large contributions, some in the thousands of dollars, to build a road to their property. And while we don’t want large contributions to the building of the park, we accept them for road building. We will give those roads priority as long as the equipment is in the vicinity.

Something else for this section what is it?

Oh yes. It is about the amount of mail that was destroyed by the post office. They sent back many of the torn mailings and delivered many with only a page with the address. That is why we are sending this mailing. Absolutely the last. Send us your e mail address Or read about what’s happening here, on the web page.

     This issue of the Cattleguard will be absolutely the last USPS mailing. We know you have read that before. But this time we mean it. We cannot sustain the postage without more support so our communication must be done electronically. All members did not receive our last issue so we are making this one last attempt to get this message to everyone.

     We have a web site. … If you want to know what is going on out here (which is mostly nothing) send us your e-mail address or check out the web site from time to time. The cattlegard will be published in the site each quarter.

     In the last (spring) issue we told of a cabin that is being built to see if it is practicable to build in kit form and then transported out to the Criswell and assembled. That cabin is now on display in Pie Town. And if you come to Pie Town and look at the cabin we will make YOUR pie, Pie a la Mode. But of more import; we are even now preparing to put the whole cabin kit (which will cost about $2500 for a 12 X 20 basic cabin) out to be assembled on a forty-acre site in section 13 of T4 R9. Pictures of the 12 X 16 prototype cabin in Pie Town can be viewed on the web site.

     THIS IS GOOD NEWS and BAD NEWS. Depending on what you have been holding your property for, all these years, some of you will be uplifted and others will be downhearted. Carol Roberson who owned the ranch property to the South of the Criswell passed on a few years back. Since then her estate has been settled. Her daughter and two sons own various parts of the estate. One of the sons has sold a large area of the ranch to The Hitching Post Land Company and some road grading and surveying and fiber optic cables activity has been under way. But none of this activity is right next to The Criswell. It appears from local reports that utilities will still be no closer than three miles to us.

     But what is interesting is the present ownership and intended distribution of the land immediately adjacent to the southern line of the Criswell. We refer to the mile wide strip of land where the Alamosito Creek flows onto the Criswell. The two brothers, Randy and Rick, own that strip of land and they want $700 per acre for it. It is true that that land is not much good for ranching, but that type of land is what parks are made of. We have spent many hot summer days sitting in a pool of cold water that we made by digging only a few feet into the sand. If I did the math right, then forty acres is worth $28,000. That is, if people actually come out and pay that for that property. So what are you going to do with your forty acres now?

HELLO, SHERRIF’S OFFICE? My windmill is missing!

     Bob Roland of Quemado, wrote a story about an Indian band of Apaches and Navahos who killed some freighter teamsters at the foot of Harrington Canyon near Alamosa Creek. The gravestones of the two freighters are still visible along side the Main Ranch Road. He wants to find a route up Harrington canyon and over into Cebolla Canyon where they might have gone after the murders. Calvary records show that they had a skirmish with a band of Indians but the distances are too great for it to have been the same Indians. But if Bob can find a short cut across the mountain it could help to validate his theory. So Bob and I were on our ATV’s following the water flow of the canyon to find a pass. I was in the lead at this point when I turned a corner and saw a metal tower with windmill attached lying in the sand. I cold not believe it. How did it get there? It was too far up the canyon to be much use for drawing water and it was completely wrecked.

     We were not looking for windmills, just a pass over the mountain so we didn’t think any more about it. We rode further up the canyon till we could not take the Atvs any further. We had a lunch and than headed back. We looked at a few side canyons but the day was getting short so we determined to come back and try another route.

     A week or so later I visited with Reatha Stillwaterstone and she told me that Gene Baca had said that his windmill and some other equipment had been taken. I got the impression from her that it was taken from the old Criswell Farm House, which is now up in Section 24.

     A day or so later I had to go to Quemado for parts and I met the deputy sheriff. Jimmy told me he had been up on the Criswell because Gene had reported his windmill stolen and that he had got his property back. I still didn’t put the two windmills together. But after a few more questions about where Jimmy had gone it became clear that I was thinking the wrong windmill was stolen and recovered.. Then it became clear that the stolen windmill was the one Bob and I had seen in the creek bed.

     So the case is still open and the investigation is on going and we are going to take another trip up the Harrington Canyon this weekend. Who says that living out here isn’t exciting? Stay tuned.

     Just for the record. If you have not heard this before, it might be good to be aware of it. The area that we call The Criswell is larger than the City of San Francisco. And it is almost as isolated as San Francisco was before the bridges were built. Before the bridges were built, you came in by horse and buggy from the South or by ferry from the North, East and West.

     I spent many years in San Francisco, and I have now spent many years on the Criswell. There is very little resemblance of the two except for the shape of the two areas and maybe the many hills and valleys. The City (San Francisco), because of the water that surrounds it on the West, North and East is shaped almost like a bell with San Mateo County forming a strait line all along its Southern border; similarly to the way the Drag A ranch covers the Criswell Southern border. The Criswell is also sort of shaped like a bell. I was not native to The City nor am I native to The Criswell But I loved and adopted The City and I think The City adopted me. And I now love the Criswell because of its openness and remoteness and its natural beauty. I have adopted The Criswell.

     There is just too much diversity here. The reasons why people buy land here runs the gamut from “it is cheap” to “it is isolated” to “there are no police” to “I can keep reselling it”. And there are some other reasons I am sure. My reason for buying was because I could finally have a place to keep all my junk. I am sure that most of you think that we must be crazy to live out here full time. I am now becoming convinced that we who live out here must be crazy. I know now that this will never be open range again. It is too valuable for all the wrong reasons so it will never bring what it is really worth. Not as long as we must let someone else use it for no compensation. That could be stopped. But not by a group of people who are as diverse as are we.

Please get involved and help at:

Why The Criswell Cabin?

This Cabin is sort of an accident. It was designed and built because the building where the Pie Town Post Office is located is old and difficult to keep in repair.

The contract with the U.S. Post Office extends into 2012, so it seems pertinent that the building will have to be rebuilt.

Though Pie Town does not have any rules or ordinances that dictate a theme for buildings, the property owners would like to keep this building in its same style.

The plan was to build a temporary building that could be removed easily after the existing Post Office building was rebuilt.

Some legal and financial problems got in the way of that grand endeavor; and the decision was made to enlarge the Post Office space and make some repairs.

In the meantime, construction of this building was under way. So the plan then was to see if this building could be built in small enough sections to be put on a small pick up truck and be transported to the very remote Criswell.

A few small adjustments were made. The lumber was cut to size, packaged in small kits, loaded on a small Toyota pick up and driven a few hundred feet to where the building was put together.

The idea was to find out if one old man could build a cabin like this out on The Criswell.

The answer turned out to be NO.

But, two people could do it very easily if they have the right ladders and tools.

Criswell property owners have asked if they could get cabins to their property. For the most part, the answer is only if they can get a road built for deliveries of materials.

By constructing the building we have demonstrated that if you can get a four-wheel truck to the Property, you can get a cabin on your property.

SWARMCO in conjunction with the Criswell Owners Group have made arrangements for kits to be built in Pie town and delivered to any assessable site.

For more information contact COG or SWARMCO at 575 772 2773

Or click here

But why is this Pie Town story being published in the Criswell Cattleguard?

If we could have found a place in Datil where we could have had an office at the same rent as this one( which is FREE), This story would likely be written about Datil. The Criswell Owners Group office is now in Pie Town, right next to the Post Office

If you'd like to print this newsletter and save it, a printable copy is available in Adobe Reader's popular PDF format in our "Resources" section on the "PDF Downloads" page or just click here.

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© 2007 - 2012

© 2007 - 2012
© 2007 - 2012