1942 Ranchers were told that their land was needed “temporarily” for the War effort. Most were patriots and moved off their ranches (at considerable hardship). The Government did not allow the ranchers back, instead keeping the land. Some 30 years latter, in the 1970s, the Government finished condemning (eminent domain) the land from unwilling owners. Through federal and state land condemnation suits, 126 Tularosa Basin families were displaced.
1945 On Monday, July 16, 1945, the U.S. Federal Government secretly exploded a plutonium bomb called the Gadget in south central New Mexico. This was in most respects a “dirty” bomb. Fallout killed livestock and contaminated Otero County ranchers and their families. US Government ignored the ranchers and their plight. See http://www.trinitydownwinders.com/
1948 The Federal Government needed more land. The quick solution was another series of condemnation suits, which evicted many families from state and federal land.
1957 The government ordered John Prather to vacate his land. The Prather family came from Texas in 1883. His ranch had 4,000 acres of deeded land and 20,000 acres of state and federal land. Mr Prather spent 50 years developing his ranch. The Government took it .
1960 Supersonic flights over southern Otero County ranchers.
1982 81-year-old rancher armed with two rifles and an old pistol has set up camp at his former homestead. White Sands officials said today that they intended to evict the rancher, Dave McDonald of Socorro. He is angry over a long dispute with the Government about his claim to 640 acres in the northern reaches of the vast range.
1985 Approximately 608,384.87 acres in Otero County, withdrawn from public use for McGregor Range.
1986 Spotted owl regulations decimate the timber/sawmill industry in Otero County
1996 German Air Force takes airspace (0 feet to 500 feet) over ranches, homes, hikers. Ranchers complained about joy-riding pilots buzzing their sheep and cattle. Filed suit. Germans cme to Otero County because they had poor safety and caused environmental damage in Germany. The German voters limited the GAF because of the damage. So they came to the ranchers in Otero County.
2000 Scott Able fire cover up by USFS. Fire burned 20,000+ acres due to FS practices protecting the Spotted Owl. The area burned was Spotted Owl habitat. USFS Ranger attempted to divert blame by lying about responsibility (and was quickly transferred).
2004 Rancher files suit for loss of grazing rights. Wins but continuing appeals deny justice.
2005 NM Checkerspot butterfly impacts campers, hikers, landowners in Otero County
2006 a supersonic corridor over communities in Otero County is established by the USAF for F-22. After F-22 leaves supersonic corridor remains.
2014 USFS takes water rights for “Jumping Mouse”. Campers, hikers, ranchers excluded from large areas in the Lincoln National Forest.
2016 USFS plans to allow US Army to take land and airspace over the LNF, private residents for heavy helicopter use (day and night).
2017 Deep Borehole Test
???? Nuclear Waste Disposal, S Otero County