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Recently I had an opportunity to visit with a gentleman from Catron County. The topic was what is happening in his part of the world.
“Some ranching,” my informant said. The saw mills are gone, thanks to the spotted owl and the environmentalists.
Subdivisions are the other development, he said. Some attract older people. Subdivisions are fine, he said, but he wonders about an older person building a Catron County home. Health care availability is modest, a problem he knows well, being equipped with a small oxygen tank.
Size and place matter. Catron County’s measures are people and acreage. The 2009 population was about 3,450, third smallest in the state. With 4.4 million acres, Catron is our largest county, with 1,275 acres for every person.
Geography, like life, isn’t fair. Catron County hosts most of the Plains of San Agustin, but the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (the VLA) is on the Plains’ eastern end and in Socorro County.
Small places have less room to absorb change. The post office in Boles Acres, near Alamogordo, closed recently. On the grander scale, this matters not at all, except for Boles Acres. A bigger change for small communities came years ago when environmental rules forced gas stations in small communities to close.