Piñon Canyon ranchers have much to be thankful for

SOUTHEASTERN COLORADO — This has to be the very best holiday gift that Southeastern Colorado could have dreamed of receiving. At the end of this article you will find a link to a video in which the Army Assistant Secretary, Katherine Hammack, announces that the Department of Defense has rescinded (repealed) the waiver that the Army (Fort Carson) received in 2006 that allowed them to pursue the expansion of PCMS (Pinon Canyon Manuever Site) in Las Animas County. At that time, the Army was looking for the entire southeastern corner of Colorado but “officially” went after more than 418,000 acres.

This initial map included acreage in Huerfano County (up to Highway 10 just northeast of Walsenburg), which brought this issue to the residents in and around Walsenburg. The communities from Springfield to La Junta, Trinidad and Walsenburg (and every community, rancher, and landowner in between) came together in various ways with various skills to convince the public, politicians, and anyone who would listen across the country, that this expansion was not needed. Never before in the history of the United States have grass root organizations (Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition, and Not One More Acre! specifically) succeeded in changing the Army’s mind. This long fight will never be completely over as long as there is a training site in Las Animas county. All of southeastern Colorado, including generations in the future, will never forget to keep a watchful eye on what the Army is doing at PCMS. But this is a victory for all of the small voices that came together to be one, loud, consistent and determined voice and kept the rights of the people intact. This should teach all of us, that yes, one voice does make a difference. Thank you is just not enough for those folks that live in Kim, Branson, Model, Thatcher and La Junta, (and a few others living elsewhere) who gave up their daily lives for this effort. You go down in history….and are forever in our hearts. God Bless America!! To see the link, go to: http://www.chieftain.com/news/2048199-120/army-expansion-canyon-hammack