Trespassers concern mountain owners

Nearly a month after a local teen was rescued from Tucumcari Mountain, one of the owners of the landmark is concerned about trespassers.

"It's so much more than just a mountain to me," said Yetta Bidegain, co-owner of a portion of Tucumcari Mountain.

Bidegain said she, her husband and family are part of a trust that owns the north face of the mountain and the surrounding land. She said a road that gives companies access to the top of the mountain to maintain towers runs through their property.

Bidegain said her love of the mountain could be traced back to her childhood, long before she owned a portion of the landmark.

"When I traveled from Montoya to Tucumcari to visit my mother, I'd top the Palomas Hills and there it was so majestic," Bidegain said "I still have that feeling every time I look at the mountain."

Bidegain said the trust has given those entities with equipment on top of the mountain permission to travel through their land. She said those entities include Quay County, which maintains the road as part of their access agreement.

"If it were up to me, there would be nothing on top of that mountain," Bidegain said. "I don't mean that in a hurtful way. I just feel so strongly about the mountain and it's beauty."

Bidegain said while they have allowed the entities access through their land and had no problems with them, they have had issues with trespassers. She said the latest issue occurred Oct. 1, when 14 year-old Alex Jauck was rescued from a small ledge midway up the 700-foot landmark.

When crews worked to rescue Jauck, Quay County Sheriff Joe Schallert said he found a make shift fort atop the mountain. He said it appeared people had been using the fort regularly with evidence of personal belongings.

"That is private property, no one is supposed to be on that land unless they have permission," Bidegain said.

No trespassing and private property signs have been posted only to be stolen within a few days, said Phillip Bidegain.

Bidegain said at one point a gate and lock were placed to block off the road and only the entities were given keys to access the property. He said someone rammed and ran over the gate and stole a section of their fence including the wire and fence post.

Yetta Bidegain said they will publish another notice advising that the sections of the mountain they own is private property and those caught out there without permission, are trespassing. She said the sheriff's office has agreed to patrol the area to discourage would be violators.

"It's frustrating, I don't think those going out there have property of their own," Yetta said. "I'm sure they would not like someone walking into their backyard unannounced."

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