In 2004 the New Mexico Legislature passed Senate Joint Memorial 10 instructing the Commission of Public Records also known as the State Records Center and Archives (SRCA) to conduct a study to determine the extent to which lands that were formally part of the common lands of a land grant may now belong to the State of New Mexico and to report the results of the study to the legislature not later than November 1, 2004.
The SRCA contracted with former State Historian, Robert Torrez to conduct a preliminary study to determine which state agencies maintained properties that fell within the scope of the Senate Joint Memorial directive. The findings from Mr. Torrez's preliminary study along with the State Records Center and Archives recommendations were submitted to the Legislature on October 21, 2004 and formed the basis for further research and study.
The SRCA received an appropriation of $33,200 for expenditure in Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 to continue the survey of state-owned property within former common lands of community land grants and to document chain of title for the properties identified in the 2004 report; and to provide an estimate of the cost of completing the survey and to research the chain of title for each of the properties identified in the second survey.
Consequently the SRCA entered into a second contract with Robert Torrez to continue the survey based on the properties within the boundaries of land grants subject to the General Provisions of Chapter 49, NMSA 1978, and Articles 3 through 10 of Chapter 49, and those community land grants registered with the Secretary of State, under the provisions of Article 1, Chapter 49.
Mr. Torrez issued a second report on June 30, 2006. In his report Mr. Torrez indicated that land grant transactions within the properties identified in the 2004 report that fell within the boundaries of land grants subject to the provisions of Chapter 49 were so complex that a complete chain of title could not be demonstrated in a straightforward or simple manner without the benefit of a full abstract of title. Mr. Torrez identified 22 state owned properties that met the criteria for inclusion in the second survey and possible abstracts.
In 2007 the SRCA received appropriation of $45,000 for expenditure in FY 2008 to conduct abstracts. Under the guidance of Representative Miguel Garcia the SRCA identified seven state owned properties for abstracting:
- Coyote Creek State Park (Mora Land Grant)
- William Humphries Wildlife Management Area (Tierra Amarilla Land Grant)
- El Vado Lake State Park (Tierra Amarilla Land Grant)
- Villanueva State Park (San Miguel del Vado Grant)
- Storrie Lake State Park (Town of Las Vegas Grant)
- New Mexico State Hospital (Town of Las Vegas Grant)
- Manzano Mountain State Park (Town of Manzano Land Grant)
LandAmerica Albuquerque Title Company was hired to obtain the abstracts and Malcolm Ebright of the Center for Land Grant Studies was contracted to: summarize the abstract findings for the seven properties; provide an overview of the history of each land grant; identify any discrepancies in the chain of title; and to provide a synopsis of all seven reports. The project was completed in June 2009 and submitted to the legislature in July 2009.
This publication is a compilation of all reports submitted to the New Mexico State Legislature by the State Records Center and Archives in compliance with the requirements stipulated in law. Work performed for this project was under the direction of Sandra Jaramillo, Director of the State Records Center and Archives.