POATRI in Motion: The Terlingua Ranch Debate

POATRI in Motion: The Terlingua Ranch Debate

There is a lot of acrimony on both sides of the Property Owners Association of Terlingua Ranch Incorporated (POATRI) debate. Detractors accuse POATRI of mismanagement, misuse of funds and concealing that misuse. POATRI contends that it is an organization that is simply doing its best to maintain roads and promote tourism with limited funds and difficult obstacles.

As always, the truth is somewhere between and is totally contextual. After two weeks of reading the bulletin board regarding this issue, I can only say a couple of things:

1) Audits must be complete and thorough. They must be made available to each member of POATRI.

I can’t say for certain if funds are being misused. However, I can say for certain that individual members who have asked for financial records have been denied that privilege.

The individual members are like the stockholders of this organization. If they are to make informed decisions and use their vote wisely, they must have an accurate snapshot of POATRI’s finances. This is the foundation of the American corporation.

It’s a very complex and difficult task to keep records up to the State’s standards; but it must be done. If this task has not been done effectively, then the current auditor should be removed and replaced with someone who can do the job.

2) Members should not be double-billed for the use of facilities that their fees support.

This is dependent on financial records. If maintenance fees are used to purchase or maintain facilities, than members should not be ‘double-billed’ and have to pay the same fee that a non-member has to.

POATRI controls a lot of nice recreational areas: Lake Ament, Christmas Mountains, etc.

These are just my opinions. I would be glad to hear what the folks at the ranch have to say. Feel free to post your comments below, or join the Terlingua group at yahoo.com.

34 thoughts on “POATRI in Motion: The Terlingua Ranch Debate

  1. US Citizen

    Thank you sincerely for bringing light to this story. POATRI appears to be a mysterious organization and if there is a rule book they follow, it is unknown to many of the regular property owners, however the regular property owners are billed and expected to pay money into the POATRI fund. After that, who knows where this money goes? It is an awkward transaction, a demand to pay without assurance of exchange. POATRI appears to feel no impulse whatsoever to provide exchange for member funds paid to the unknown masters of this mysterious organization. The effects of this mystery are significant: uninformed new property owners find a surpise, land values do not seem stable when attached to this system, and the quality of life in the area known as Terlingua Ranch is unpredictable.

  2. admin

    I appreciate your comment. This forum is open to everybody… if you are an officer of POATRI, please feel free to comment and refute anything you don’t like. I assure you that this is a forum open to everybody without my editing or censorship.

    Also, people underestimate the knowledge and savvy of us rural Texans– I’m convinced that folks on Terlingua Ranch are more plugged in than 90% of their city counterparts! I sent out this email and an hour later there were 15 hits!

  3. US Citizen

    I do not see how a POATRI officer could reply to this story. It is not so much a “mis-use of funds” as a “total lack of concept.” They once operated a “lodge” and that has been shuttered and they even put up No Trespassing signs to the owners. After that, POATRI’s sole provision was road work however is there a schedule or rotation of roadwork that is expected and completed? If there is, it is not known. The organization website seems antiquated, a startling confrontation to this “smart” and current weblog you have here. Yet, this organization collects and distributes a half million dollars a year? Yes, any rural Texan knows how to count a dime and get value when spending money. POATRI leaves me at a loss and a confusion. There appears to be some legal apparatus where POATRI can bill people due to land titles and the State of Texas has provided no regulation of this type organization, and no protection to owners of private property that are legally attached to this type of operation. There is something very slick at play because in the eyes of state law, POATRI is not categorized as an entity that currently fits governance laws yet they have the legal power to attach to land title and they even have the legal power to seize title of land if the owner of the land has not paid POATRI their fee. So there is a legal demand upon owners to pay but there is no legal demand for POATRI to provide return performance or value. In this regard, the State of Texas appears to ill-perform their task as a shephard of the people.

  4. US Citizen

    One additional observation, the POATRI situation resonates with the POA/HOA situation in the state, where there is opportunity to exploit property owners. The POA/HOA officials have the opportunity to exercise full-time expertise over the property owners, whereas the property owners often lack the expertise or time required for solidarity to protect their own interests. This is also pronounced at Terlingua Ranch because many owners do not live in the area. In this regard, a solution due to owner solidarity may be insurmountable. There are owner successes in HOA/POA but there is also a great amount of this type arrangement where the HOA/POA has incentive and opportunity to use techniques to obstruct owner participation. If one cares to look into commentaries on the POA/HOA situation in the state, organization techniques that leverage owners can be observed. While POATRI has before enjoyed the west Texas reputation of being unique, if one looks at the greater context of state HOA/POA there are commonalities where owners are legally required to pay funds yet on the long term seem to be lacking in ability to apply governance or partication into the very organization they are said to own.

  5. admin

    I am looking for the proper administrative tools to address this. The courts are slow and messy, hopefully if enough taxpayers complain things will change.

    Ideally, people interested in this issue have somebody they can contact in Texas government. I will keep you posted on my progress.

  6. admin

    My biggest problem with Terlingua Ranch is how it seems to talk down to people– “you wouldn’t understand terms like accrual, or cash basis…”

    Well. Try us out. Explain to us why we’re mistaken. Explain to us exactly why you’re right. In an ideal world, accounting makes things clearer– it doesn’t obscure them.

  7. admin

    This needs to be posted as well:

    TO ALL,

    On January 15, 2009, the political sign belonging to Terlingua Ranch Reform Party – located on the road going to the POATRI headquarters – was burned by arsonists! Rewards totalling $1500 have been posted for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty parties.

    If you have information on the arsonists, please contact:
    Don Mahan and/or Investigator John Kondratick, CFI at the phone numbers shown below.

    Contact information:

    Reward Information
    Donald Mahan
    President of TRRP
    Phone: 281-496-5034
    Email: DWMAHAN@SBCGLOBAL. NET

    Arson Investigator
    Investigator John Kondratick, CFI
    Deputy State Fire Marshal
    Fire/Arson Investigations Division
    Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office-Midland
    cell (512) 417-7302

    Working together, we can rid the Terlingua Ranch of the lowlife persons responsible for endangering the lives of nearby property owners – and the burning of a political sign under the cover of darkness. Those people deserve to locked up in the Brewster County jail for a long period.

  8. BJ

    Most of the folks out at the ranch support POATRI. You just see the lunatic fringe by visiting the forums.

  9. admin

    It’s easy to call someone a lunatic… if you really want to contribute to this debate, convince me that they are mistaken in a matter of fact or reasoning.

  10. BJ

    I don’t have the amount of time necessary to convince you, as compared to the time they are willing to devote to destroying POATRI. Most everything that is stated by the lunatic fringe can be proved false just by looking at the budgets and other documents that are clearly posted on the POATRI website for all to see. Most folks on the ranch want a healty POATRI and are will to pay fees. Very few want to destroy the organization. But they are the ones speaking the loudest. Don’t be fooled.

  11. admin

    Here are the financial summaries.

    I see an organization that is nominally dedicated to road maintenance and has a 2007/2008 assessment income of $1.2 million dollars. It spent roughly $8,000 on diesel (used for most heavy equipment) however and $17,000 on gasoline and $14,000 on music bands.

    If you feel that the original intent of this organization was to maintain the roads effectively, this may seem wasteful. Again, I am not taking sides here; I am trying to create a forum for debate.

    Strictly speaking, these are financial statements, not financial records. Financial records are things like receipts, pay stubs and invoices. Financial statements are created from financial records; we do not know, for instance, anything about the paper trail that tracked the $17,000 in gasoline costs here. Was it for compensating employees commuting to and from work? I don’t know and it isn’t evident from a financial statement.

    Also, it’s the American way to give the people who are best-informed and most vocal about their opinion more weight in public forums. Although some accusations may be exaggerated, it’s still a worthy pursuit to find out the truth and investigate them. I trust in public opinion and my own editorial sense to bring balance to this issue.

    As always, any representative or supporter of POATRI may post directly here or refer me to any link. This is not a one-sided forum.

  12. US Citizen

    As a landowner, I feel that POATRI is a liability to land-owning the Terlingua area. My neighbor told me to save myself the time and emotional energy and to ignore POATRI. What is particularly telling to me is that is that at a local store I spoke to a college age person who had grown up on Terlingua Ranch. This person, who otherwise seem well adjusted to the world, had very strong opinions about the POATRI, considered it corrupt and unfriendly to youth, and did not like the organization or anything about it. I took this to be a talisman or signpost and I consider it an accurate reference. I do not know what BJ refers to, Americans support many things that are against their interests and well being. I do not see the vlue returned from POATRI for the fees paid. I consider it significant that POATRI is attached to land title and has no requirement by law to return value for monies paid, required by law to be paid. According to the law, POATRI can take the fee money and pay it to themselves or burn it in a barrel and give the middle finger to the landowners who are required by law to pay this organization. The main part, aside from the opinion of young people who know, is where is the documented return of value for money paid? Where is it? And where is the government of the State of Texas in enabling this type of legal arrangement attached to land title?

  13. US Citizen

    I shall again remind the gentle reader that POATRI is in a position of advantage over Terlingua Ranch landowners because due to the many absentee owners, there is basically zero solidarity on the mission of this organization. Therefore and until perpetuity POATRI is in a position of mighty leverage over the collective of individual landowners. POATRI is basically a privatized government without the standard charters and ethics policies of local government.

  14. US Citizen

    If one cares to read the currently effective POATRI charter documents, one will find an undefined mishmash that will not pass muster with any organizational consultant. This leaves the POATRI organization in a condition of drift, lacking no defined – as in writing – purpose or defined mission statement, and therefore is in a condition of prolonged improvising. The lack of bid policy and the lack of ethics policy on distribution of monies is both conspicuous and catastrophic. Anyone who has experience with government on local, city, county, of federal will be shocked by the simple absence of clearly defined protocol or ethics policy for distribution of money from POATRI. Due to remote location, POATRI is the perfect storm for an elusive and remote appratus to collect and distribute money in a silent and unknown way. It is the perfect magnet or attractor for unscrupulous individuals to attach themselves to this system of attachment to real property and to require fees from owners. Due to the complex nature of requiring fees attached to land title, and acting as a government in-situ, in situation, there is no single owner who can track, verify legality or otherwise attend to the opportunity for owner exploitation that is available to this organization.

  15. admin

    [I placed US citizen’s fourth post from below here. Next time please press reply in the comment you want to reply to]
    In reply to BJ, “Most of the folks out at the ranch support POATRI.” Yes that may be correct because you are taking money from the majority of owners who are not “out at the ranch.” This is an old observation, in a climate of little income, the absolute readiness of many local residents to accept what benefit they perceive from billing absentee owners. One might call it an entitlement mentality in place of a business performance and ethics mentality. There are some local residents who think of POATRI as an untouchable institution and are entirely blind to the concept of performance for fees paid. Sometimes I wonder if the Terlingua Ranch operators and permanent residents are from a labor class background, or from mid level corporate employees. In either case, there is not evident the method of a business owner who understands the bottom line, or one experienced in government who understands ethics and the responsbility that goes with collecting taxes and the penalties involved for ignoring ethics. POATRI conveniently sidesteps this due to that they have no ethics policy on distribution of funds. If the residents of the area want to allow Terlingua Ranch to be a slum to the business minded, that is what is happening and there is no reason to represent it in any other way. Anywhere money is collected without ethics, there is little performance and the modus operandi is more like thugs in a slum neighborhood. The rule is intimidation and in reality, these thug persons lean on the rest of the world that produces and follows the rules. That must be what POATRI expects and enjoys, for the productive workers, who do not reside in the area, to fund their malfeasance and lack of performance.

    If POATRI wishes to join the living, they should delete their antiquated website, hire a consultant to provide them a charter, and consistently provide evidence of performance for fees collected. It appears to this landowner that there is no person at this organization who is capable of these actions.

    Terlingua Ranch is not a “go-to destination,” it is a “get-away-from” location. The problem with land title is that then this situation is passed along to the next owner, which is why it must be solved.

  16. US Citizen

    Thank you Mr. Suber for the editing. One question, if POATRI is a defacto local government, aside from the ethics questions, what do owners expect from this government? for a democracy to be healthy, the land-owners have to have expectations. I think I have errored in stating that “someone from POATRI should…” and “no one from POATRRI is capable of…” In reality, the owners should have a vitality and voice. This is perhaps? a little awkward? when owners are prohibitted from the very premises by No Trespassing signs? But maybe this era of neurotic drama has passed. And yes, BJ has the nerve calling landowners the fringe when it is the organization itself that ropes the place off with yellow crime scene tape and no trespassing signs. When the distraction of drama subsides, there is left the reality of this organization that has no cogent charter in the since of something economical and purposeful in 2009. If POATRI were to hire a consultant, it would likely be a legal zealot for more incomprehensible mishmash. If one asks the question, What is the performance expected of the organization, who could answer this? That is my question. We all know the billing cycle and the amount of the bill. My enduring question is What is the performance from the organization and where is it? If this can not be answered, you have a bureaucratic organization with no bearing, a friend’s club to suck up money like a vaccuum. The problem is that this is not a voluntary arrangement, again and again, it is done using the law. There is some genius at work in the combination of marketing the wide-open-spaces of west Texas and combining this with a fee scheme. There are persons who can see through this and do something about it. Maybe the law should change POATRI into an organization that is by voluntary membership. Otherwise, for POATRI to be required and attached to land title, a charter and rules of ethics must apply. Currently, the latter is incomplete. To a business person, this is a simple matter of organizational and ethics housekeeping. (note: POATRI’s charter is a mishmash that does not specify performance. This may be the heart of it: exchange: contract: performance aspect of contract).

  17. KC

    I purchased some property in Terlingua Ranch in 2004. Shortly after, I was given a statement for “assessment fee”. The total was $55.00. I figured that was a reasonable sum to help maintain the roads.The next year the fee remained the same. Then, came all of this brou-ha-ha about the money. Suddenly, the fee increased to around $140.00.Now, with all of the animosity and board members leaving & new ones arriving, the fee has reached $155.00. For what? I know for a fact that the road to my property has not been graded or taken care of. So, what am I paying for? All I want to do is enjoy my little piece of Texas(without paying through the nose for it as my property is paid for!).

  18. EKN

    I very much disagree with any idea that POATRI is supported by “most of the folks”. Obviously the lunatice fringe BJ refers to IS “most of the folks” – witness the utter failure of the last two election attempts to get a maintenance fee increase. Truth is “most of the folks” have had more than an eyebrow full of POATRI’s shenanigans especially a dysfunctional management (or more accurately a “non-management”) for the past five years.

  19. Disgruntled new owner

    I’m a relatively new owner of 20 acres in the Solitario area— I don’t mind paying fees for road maintenance because I know the expense involved and resources that are required to properly maintain the roads. What I have a problem with is the Special Assessments that are “demanded” from the owners and the threats by POATRI to those who question or refuse to pay the assessments. My gut reaction to the latest assessment bill (August 2008)told me that something is not right about the way POATRI chooses to do business. I received the bill the second week of August and was expected to pay it before August 30th– I was not even give a typical 30 days to make payment. I refused to pay because of the organization’s threatening tone and method– all the red flags went up! I agree that the HOA/POA situation in Texas has to be challenged and changed. Property owners rights are compromised under HOA/POA system– I am so disappointed with the entire POATRI situation because they have shut so many of the property owner out.

  20. irrate owner

    The ranch is closed the only thing you can do is buy very poor quality water, but now our GM needs a assistant GM. This does not make sense. To add another managerial position at this time is ridiculous. What relative or friend does she want to add to the payroll now! I wonder if the BOD even knows this job opportunity was posted? nothing was brought up at the last meeting. More back door politics. A group wanted to open the bath house and laundry and do it all at no cost to the ranch. They were told by the BOD to stop any efforts on this endeavor, with no explanation. Their is something rotten on Terlingua Ranch and the people are getting tired of it. Look for change it is comming, people have enough of this type of abuse.

  21. donmahan

    The reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those guilty of burning the TRRP sign has been inreased from $1,500.00 to $2,100.00 due to additional donations by Sam Sledge($500.00) and by Randy Carnes ($100.00). A new all steel sign has been errected on the paved Ranch road.

    We will hunt down the guilty low life that burned the TRRP sign and file charges against them in Brewster County. These arsonist can accidently kill people with a single match.

    Don Mahan

  22. donmahan

    Guzzlers and Water Catchments

    A trip to Terlingua ranch was taken during spring break. During this trip, additional photographs of guzzlers and water catchments on Terlingua ranch were taken. The photographs were posted on the Yahoo Freedom for Terlingua Ranch web site in the Photo Section under Guzzlers.
    website address is http://groups.yahoo.com/group/terlingua/join?

    A total of 102 separate photographs of Guzzlers and Water Catchments have now been published, surpassing our original goal of 100 guzzlers.
    I want to compliment all the many property owners who have built the 102 water systems on Terlingua ranch. These systems will greatly increase water supplies at a low cost for both the property owners and wildlife.
    It is hoped that some of the water catchment property owners that do not have watering troughs, will install watering troughs and share some of the water caught, if they want to see wildlife close to their property.
    Small local rain showers came down during the trip, but the ranch is suffering from a long term drought and the wildlife badly needs additional water supplies. All the local ponds & streams are now bone dry and none of the ranch’s original windmills and water storage facilities are working due to a lack of ranch maintenance.
    The cost to install a small watering trough (5 gallons) equipped with a float valve is minimal and it will last for many years without any maintenance. One half inch black plastic PVC tubing can be used to pipe the water to the watering trough. Water usage is very small due to its small size of the trough (reduced evaporation) and you will be rewarded by abundant wildlife which will visit your property.
    Take a look at the many guzzlers and water catchments photographed. Perhaps your guzzler or water catchment is shown in the many photographs. Let me know if you have installed a watering trough.
    Again thanks to the many, many property owners who have built the systems thereby providing a green way to provide water for themselves and the wildlife.

    Don Mahan

  23. Danny Partin

    Would like to join the discussion and participate in anything that is going to improve the ranch,, ,I just bought 20 acres in the Solitario and Im coming down April 23-26 for the annual Property owners meeting,,,,also I would like to learn about anything that can and is being done to support wildlife on my prperty one of the first things Im going to do is place a guzzler on my land
    thank you
    Danny /Kathy Partin
    713-444-7924

  24. Danny

    I was told the Poatri budget could be seen online but all I can find is very vague,,Im new so it might just be me

  25. Bill

    I was reading all the comments made here about paying this or that. I am looking now to purchase property on the ranch. I was raised in Southern Oklahoma on a large cattle ranch, well, not as large as some in texas but over 4,000 acres. There were miles of dirt roads to get to our ranch and to get around on the ranch and to different pastures. Maintaing the roads was not an easy task for the county and it was not easy for us either as we had many creeks and low areas that washed out with rains. Upkeep on roads and the equipment to do so is not a very cheap expense and last year when prices for fuel was at an all time high I am sure the price went up as usual. I see a lot of complaints but not much in the way of solutions. If you have no solution to a problem that is better than what is happening then don’t complain. I have worked for AMR and others but I never complained without a solution to what i was complaining about. I also had my own Horse training business and guess what, I never complained to me, I just found a solution to what needed to be done. Yeah, sometimes it takes a lot of money to do what you think should cost very little. From the bylawys i have read, the Owners are the Board, if this is the case then you have no one to complain to except yourselves but i also understand that a lot of people never agree what this should be or that should be, they just assume that what they hear is right and never take the time to check it out. I for one look forward to living there, owning my land, doing what i need to do to keep it up, keep the area around me in repair and to make sure any animals close to me are welcome. When I move down i will also attend meetings and to do all I can to make sure if any help is needed anywhere I can be of service. I know how to operate a backhole, never did a grader but an learn and if need be can and will provide myself to do whatever to help. as for water, I plan on hauling in water, propane for other things and a gen for elect power. Same way I grew up on our ranch.

  26. Dayvid Franke

    I own several properties withi Terlingua Ranch and am soon to be building a permamnet home on two of them. I am curious why membership within POATRI isn’t voluntary?

    I have no problem paying dues to help upkeep the road systems that we all use, but I am more than curious why the stated funds don’t have more oversight? I mean precisley that “it is our money”.

    Is there a way to make membership to POATRI voluntary? I am a high level menager within the defense industry, so the idea that “I don’t understand business and finance” doesn’t hold any water with me as I have seen stated elsewhere online.

    I am very much committed to being a great neighbor and Texan as are my wife and daughter, and I am not interested in having anyone have any power or say so over my land, family or anything else for that matter so long as I am not harming anyone else in any way and when POATRI has the power to attach tax liens to lands when, a.) membership is not voluntary, and b.) POATRI fails to demonstrate in a manner that is acceptable to the owners that they are supposed to be representing and being accountable to, I have a problem with this.

    Please help because I like solutions and there are enough of us resident owners here to find an acceptable solution for all of us.

    What can we do to make membership voluntary?

    Thank you,

    Dayvid Franke

  27. Shovelbumtexas

    Dear Sir,
    I would very much like to see the photos of guzzlers posted at:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/terlingua/join?

    However, my membership is still pending (and has been for about 2 weeks). Are there photos available on other sites? I would like to construct the best catchments I can and would like to see shat others have done.
    Thank you for your time,
    Catherine Tyson

  28. BJ

    There is plenty of land near Big Bend that is not part of Terlingua Ranch. If you prefer to maintain your own roads, and fend for yourself. Land off the ranch would be a better option. Terlingua Ranch has a small annual fee that is used to maintain roads. That is reasonable, and major reason I bought land on the ranch. Unfortunately, a lot of the money is used to fight frivolous lawsuits by folks who just like to stir up trouble.

  29. irrate owner

    I get the feeling that BJ is really local land flipper BJT, a person who thinks it is ok for a 5ac owner to pay the fee as she with 6,000ac. In the last 5yrs a 5ac owner has payed more in TR fees than most of them payed for their land. While the land flippers have reduced their cost to almost nothing by controlling the BOD. BJ care to comment.

  30. Future Resident

    I just wanted to say that I have been reading all of these posts with great interest. I plan to purchase a piece of land there, build a home, create a sustenance way of life and live in peace. The annual fees seem reasonable and I have no objection to paying them, but do agree that there should be some return for the fee….most especially road maintenance. As Bill from Oklahoma stated, complaining without being part of the solution is futile. I can also run a backhoe, can learn to run anything, and would be more than willing to do my share to keep the ranch functional and a pleasant place to live. I have no interest in doing battle with any of my neighbors over anything at all and hope that by the time I get down there, many of these complaints have already been addressed or solved. I did read where whoever’s in charge was supposed to be resigning, so maybe somebody else will come in who will show accountability for the funds? One thing I really do not want to be a part of is something that is overly organized (read, I don’t want anybody telling me how to live), which I why I want to buy remote land in the first place. Looking forward to meeting most of you soon….

  31. D. Smith

    Hello and glad to find this Blog.

    I’ve started thinking a lot about buying some property at the ranch and have just now started searching for answers to questions. I’ve never been there before, but was born and raised in far west Texas where a lot of the surrounding land is very similar to pictures I’ve seen of the ranch. I wasn’t too happy to find that the Lodge is closed which brought up even more questions. Corresponding with the land sales people here where I live I’m sure the answers I’ve gotten are geared more toward making the sale than accurate information. I was told that the owner’s fees were totally for road up keep and was not to support the Lodge or anything else. They assured me that water could still be bought in bulk there at a reasonable price?

    What I’m wondering is if there are any of you that could actually answer my questions truthfully to help me make the decision of buying or not. Not sure that I would ever live there on a full time basis, but there is a strong possibility of that happening eventually.

    Questions to those who do own.

    Knowing now what you do now would you have still bough land there?
    What are the wind conditions there as far as using wind power for electricity?
    Do any of the owners actually have wells or windmills and what are the chances of hitting water on any given plat of the land?
    I operate several web sites and would need decent internet access there to be able to administrate the sites. What kind of connections can be had there?

    I don’t have a problem with paying the owner’s fees as long as the place stays accessible, but if other stuff is supposed to be provided along with that it would be nice to have it. I’ve been using Google earth to look at plats advertised on the land dealer’s site, but unfortunately the resolution for the ranch is far from good and I can only get a vague idea of the land. Would there be anyone out there that would be willing to go to the trouble to look over plats I think I’d like t buy and email me a few decent photos of it?

    As for me. I’m all for helping out neighbors and do around here, but the problem is here that I do most of the helping and don’t get much if any help in return. I hate one way streets.I’m a retired 30 veteran HVAC mechanic and have also done a lot of experimenting with solar and wind power. (Built a few of my own wind generator), but in this city with its restrictions can’t use them much. I’m also an Army Vet. I’m willing to set up a forum to allow pictures to be attached to messages if anyone is interested. (Mainly to help get truthful answers for prospective buyers like myself)

  32. Don Mahan

    The 102 photographs of guzzlers/ water catchment system and photographs for the Guzzler Building Design Tips has been moved to:
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TerlinguaBigBendValley
    I am going to the ranch in Oct/Nov and hope to take many more photographs of the additional guzzlers being built by the property owners. Not one red cent of POATRI money has been spent on this effort.
    My brother (Ron) and I going to also hunt birds while we are there. Thanks due to our guzzlers, the birds (doves and blue quail) are plentiful on our own property.
    Water is the gold standard on Terlingua Ranch. Without it you will mainly see mainly snakes and scorpions.
    With guzzlers, all types of wildlife will be seen, including mule deer, coyotes, javelin, foxes, blue quail, doves, song birds, buzzards, elf owls, ravens, hawks of all types, bobcats, mice, cottontail rabbits, javelina, badger, jack rabbits, snakes and scorpions.
    We love Terlingua Ranch, in case you haven’t noticed.
    A big thanks, should go to Andrew Suber, Editor of West Texas News, for having a forum for property owners to post their comments.
    Don Mahan

  33. irrate owner

    Hi to D Smith
    I will try to answer some of your questions.
    1 Knowing now what you do now would you have still bough land there?
    Yes but I would have looked for “exempt land” that does not have to pay fees yet gets all the same benefits including voting to raise fees! Hugh persent of the land is in this category.
    2 What are the wind conditions there as far as using wind power for electricity?
    Not that great, speed and reliability vary enormously, ok as a supplement for solar, excellent sunshine year round PV is much better option.
    Electricity is only available in limited areas, unless you buy a tract that already has power running across it, it is almost impossible to get grid power. Cost is prohibitive, plus you must obtain an easement from the owner of the nearest land that has a pole and any land you would have to cross. Most locals do not want to see lines extended or want people living too close by. Many of the tracts have owners that are not even locatable to even ask for an easement. And you still need back up because grid power is sporadic at certain times of the year.
    3 Do any of the owners actually have wells or windmills and what are the chances of hitting water on any given plat of the land?
    Manny of the older homesteads have working windmills, water quality in the area is questionable, much of the water has heavy metals as this area was used for Mercury mining. From what I have been told 30 to 350 feet to hit water, hit and miss. Public water is available in the Ghost town 118/170 road area at reasonable rates, their wells are very deep 1200 ft or so, water is then treated by reverse osmosis. Non-potable water is also avail at some local mines and the TR ranch at reasonable cost. Rainwater catchments is a good option, a big flat roof and a large storage tank are needed. The Sun is very strong here and the shade from metal roof structure is a BIG plus, but build it strong as 80 to 90 mph winds do occur a few times a year.
    4 I operate several web sites and would need decent Internet access there to be able to administrate the sites. What kind of connections can be had there?
    DSL and phone service is available, if you have grid power or substantial solar and a permanent structure installation cost is very reasonable, if not you can still have service but installation cost of adding to the plant is at your expense. Their are phone lines run all over the ranch even in some remote areas, you have to be within a certain distance of the DSL equipment for that service. Big Bend Telephone has the information on their web site.
    Sat phones are available at a discounted rate for area residents and are recommended do to the remoteness of the area. Closest hospital is in Alpine and services are limited. The area is not recommended for people with medical issues, we have a good ambulance service but the distance and terrain will all but eat up that critical hour they all talk about.
    5 I don’t have a problem with paying the owner’s fees as long as the place stays accessible,
    Reread the opening statement of this thread by the Administrator and look between the lines. The fee structure and use of funds is obsurd. 5ac pays the same as 6000ac; half the place pays nothing at all, so the ones that pay have to pay more. The BOD does not listen to the owners, example, at a recent election a raise in fees was voted down, so what did the BOD do they charged a “one time fee” equal to the raise that was voted down. They called it a Budget Variances Fee that does not require a vote just BOD approval. Their have been “one time fees” for the last three years they just give them a new name and add it to your bill. By the way most of the Board and Ranch missManagement are exempt property owners. The core group that runs the place is so secretive that half of the nine-member board doesn’t know what is happing till it is too late. Forget looking to see where the money goes even members of the board not in the CORE GROUP can’t look at the books, AND THIS IS A NON-PROFIT ASSOCIATION.
    I got to stop now I am getting to mad to type. Most of the people down here are really nice and friendly and helpful. Ask here or at the “Freedom For Terlingua Ranch” Yahoo group about specific tracts or areas of the ranch and I am sure you will be helped.
    Hope I was helpful, but I had to be honest, this is a hard but awsome place to live.
    Irrate Owner

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