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Mitre Peak

When I first drove into Alpine, I noticed a quite impressive pyramid-shaped peak rising out of the desert. It was visible starting a few miles from Alpine along 67.

On my way to visit Davis Mountain State Park (see the previous entry. Confusing, eh?), about 10 miles outside of Alpine, I turned onto Mitre Peak Road which seemed like it would lead to the base of the peak.

Indeed it did. However, the presence of barbed wire fences indicated that this wasn't public land. I asked at the neighboring Mitre Peak Camp (a Girl Scout camp) if it was possible to climb it. The Camp didn't own the peak, it was owned by an out of town rancher. The peak is 6100', and it appears rough from both the front and the back.

Apparently, there have been problems with people running into problems when trying to climb it. If you take the right route it (supposedly) doesn't require ropes. But, one party took over 12 hours to get up and down, and another party had to be airlifted from the top.

After that, the owner apparently decided to disallow access. In any other western state, there's a fair chance that this peak would be on Forest Service or BLM land. However, there is almost no public land in Texas. Other than Texas' state parks, various city parks, and a few National Parks, everything is privately owned.

The map in the BLM office in Carlsbad was quite striking. Splotches of color showed BLM and FS presence throughout Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Nevada was almost all salmon pink. Whereas Texas was almost all white, with the exception of the National Parks.

I might have more to say about this subject later, but for now I'm still trying to decide which is worse: the taking of rights or property by a government agency, or private land owners being allowed to hog things like Mitre Peak all to themselves.

Apparently there's a land rights proponent in Alpine who is continually writing letters to the editor in opposition to The Nature Conservancy; I have her phone number and perhaps I'll do a spot of real reporting at a later date.

BloggingAcrossAmerica · Mon, 12/01/2003 - 23:09 · Importance: 1

Mon, 12/27/2004 - 12:27
rent-to-own
www.sesamiestreet.com

You might ask yourself..."Those Girl Scouts must have sold a ton of cookies to be able to purchase that beautiful property"? I'll bet you that there are folks who are much more concerned about the quality of life (man/woman/children/animals) than you can fathom... BTW, Have you ever noticed the ski areas that charge $$$ to access their mountians... the nerve!!!

Tue, 11/09/2004 - 20:51
Chris

One of the greatest things about texas is that a majority of the land is owned my private owners. I myself have climed Mitre Peak and there is a way up without using ropes but it is very dangerouse all the same. There are way to many things that can go wrong when climbing especially of you are an unexperienced climber. The family is just looking out for themselves. They are held responsible if something were to happen and in this day in age there are way to many people looking for easy money through the court systems. If you allow public climbers then you are just asking for a law suit.

Wed, 10/13/2004 - 05:42
kathryn

Apparently for special philinthropic events you can get access to the ranch, i'll be there next weekend. don't know how close we'll get to the peak but if you like i'll let you know.

Wed, 10/13/2004 - 05:41
kathryn

Apparently for special philinthropic events you can get access to the ranch, i'll be there next weekend. don't know how close we'll get to the peak but if you like i'll let you know.

Wed, 10/13/2004 - 05:39
kathryn

Apparently for special philinthropic events you can get access to the ranch, i'll be there next weekend. don't know how close we'll get to the peak but if you like i'll let you know.

Wed, 10/13/2004 - 05:36
kathryn

Apparently for special philinthropic events you can get access to the ranch, i'll be there next weekend. don't know how close we'll get to the peak but if you like i'll let you know.

Wed, 10/13/2004 - 05:35
kathryn

Apparently for special philinthropic events you can get access to the ranch, i'll be there next weekend. don't know how close we'll get to the peak but if you like i'll let you know.

Tue, 05/25/2004 - 12:06
gmd

Hey, relax. This property has been in the owner's family for many decades and he takes good care of it. Maybe not everybody can climb it, but it's always available to being photographed - as you did, painted, written about and in other ways enjoyed. West Texas is a fragile ecosystem. The mountain would be quickly ruined if it could be climbed any time by anybody. Every beautiful place in the country can't be public land, even though I myself would love more access to hiking in Texas.
Also, what's with blasting someone because they don't like The Nature Conservancy. You don't even know the person's name. But I do. I'm a huge supporter of TNC, but that doesn't mean opposing views don't add balance and challenge us to think about all aspects of issues. Opposing views don't make a person bad.
Maybe as a visitor to Texas, you should take more time to get to know a place before you start finding faults. How about talking about what to appreciate?
gmd