Ranchers who live within the call-up areas on White Sands Missile Range visited an archeological site on the range Sept. 29 during the annual Rancher’s Day outing WSMR hosts for the ranchers.
The event is hosted each year to thank ranchers for their support and cooperation during testing throughout the year.
This year’s event started with a tour of the mastodon site where mastodon remains were discovered a few months ago. In years past, the ranchers were given tours of the NIE testing facilities, the 2nd Engineer Battalion Headquarters, and sites where pottery has been found. WSMR Stewardship Archeologist Stan Berryman spoke about the uniqueness of finding mastodon remains in the Tularosa Basin area and the importance of these discoveries to the environmental history.
“It helps us understand what the past was and hopefully what the future will be (in terms of climate and environment),” Berryman said of the discovery.
Berryman said that as the archeologists conducting the excavation were getting ready to end the excavation, they discovered what could possibly be two mammoth remains near the mastodon remains. Berryman pointed out several footprints that are still visible to the area to include camel, dire wolf, and mammoth tracks.
After visiting the mastodon site, the ranchers were taken to visit the Jose Lucero Ranch House. The ranch house gave the ranchers a look at the range’s efforts to preserve ranch houses throughout the installation. Melissa Muncy, a local rancher, and her 13-year-old daughter Leeann said they’ve attended every Rancher’s day since Leeann was born. Muncy said she enjoys the events and Leeann said it was a good way for her to meet other rancher’s who share their relationship with WSMR. Muncy said she was will continue to attend as long as WSMR offers the event.
At the ranch house, Jose Lucero’s grandson, Pat Beckett, spoke about the ranch where he said he spent most of his childhood. Beckett spoke about the family’s rich history and the many memories he held in the ranch house that is currently being preserved.
After his speech, Becket was presented with a letter by WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin and a commander’s coin. Coffin spent the entire day with the ranchers and took some time to personally thank them for attending the day’s events during their lunch at the Frontier Club. Coffin also presented the ranchers with a newsletter that will be distributed to the local ranching community on a quarterly basis.
“I want to thank each of you for what you do in supporting our testing efforts,” Coffin said.
“I enjoyed seeing you, spending time with you, and hearing some of the stories you have to tell. I really appreciate you coming down,” he added.
The event is a way for WSMR to thank the rancher’s for their support during test missions. Because of the rancher’s proximity to the range, the ranchers are often asked to evacuate their homes during test missions.