The Terlingua Ranch Road Crew maintains 1,100 miles of roads through the mountains and desert so that our 5,000 property owners can access their 9,500 different tracts of land. The Chihuahuan desert and therefore our roads cover bentonite flat lands, sand dunes, fractured shale, dry river beds, gravel, exposed rocks and boulders, places frequently washed out, drastic changes in topography and many plant based obstacles. Our goal is to ensure that all tracts are accessible in a high clearance 4WD or AWD vehicle and to crown the roads in order to prevent erosion. It is our responsibility to maintain the roads so that you have access to your land. It is not our responsibility to maintain or build driveways.
Some of our roads can be accessed by any kind of vehicle in any kind of weather and some cannot. Some areas of Terlingua Ranch are only accessible by high clearance vehicles. Some areas of Terlingua Ranch are only accessible by high clearance and 4WD or AWD vehicles. Some of our roads can be driven in any kind of weather and some of our roads cannot be driven during or immediately after a heavy rain storm. This could limit your capabilities of having a trailer, RV, manufactured home, delivery vehicle, or normal car from ever reaching your land.
We have 1,100 miles of roads to maintain and a two man road crew. They do their best to keep on a rotating schedule which allows them to be as efficient and fair as possible. They transport their equipment to one area of the Ranch and try to work all of the roads that need it in that area before moving to the next. Our road crew does make exceptions and come off of rotation if your road is not passable in a high clearance 4WD/AWD vehicle or if there is no road to access your property.
As a property owner of Terlingua Ranch, you can make a road maintenance request by calling our office and answering a few questions. If your road is passable with a high clearance vehicle, know that the road crew is out there and will get to you. Please be patient though. Our Road Crew scouts out all road requests before fulfilling them which means they are not actually working roads when they have to scout out requests first.
Crowning roads is the process by which the center of the roads are built up higher to allow the water to drain along the sides of the roads instead of flowing through the middle and damaging the surface of the road that is actually driven on. This not only saves our roads, but it also helps promote the natural water shed which is important for the proper distribution of rainwater to wells and springs.The berms you see along the sides of the roads are a result of years of flat blading the roads instead of crowning them properly. In order to save our roads and create the proper crown in the middle, our road crew has to pull materials from the side of the roads back into the center of the road. At first this will look like the road has been widened extensively; however after the material has been re-distributed into the road, the plant life will grow back along the edges and your road will become narrow again. Our road crew tries to avoid uprooting Spanish daggers, cat claws, mesquite and formidable cactus.
The road crew creates water turnouts in order to channel the water away from the road and to return the runoff to the natural watershed.
We can offer no opinion on road access. However, if you leave the road, you are trespassing.
In December of 2006, the POATRI vs. Suber lawsuit was commenced as the result of a property owner erecting a gate on Terlingua Ranch roads. In August of 2013 the final verdict was announced. Due to the judgment in POATRI vs. Suber, Terlingua Ranch cannot do anything about property owners erecting gates on Terlingua Ranch roads. The matter of gates is to be decided between the actual property owners themselves. You can find the Amended Final Judgement, Findings of Fact & Conclusions of Law for POATRI vs. Suber in our Library.
If there is a gate blocking your access, Terlingua Ranch can help you contact the neighbor who may have erected the gate, may be able to help you find another way to your property, or may be able to build any new roads if our requirements have been met.
If you are considering erecting a gate that would block other property owners from their land, we would recommend contacting the affected property owners first, getting their approval and making sure they know how to open your gate. If you erect a gate on your road, our Road Crew considers it to be a private driveway instead of a Terlingua Ranch road and may cease to maintain the road past the gate. If you ever want a possibility that Terlingua Ranch could maintain the road behind your gate, you should make sure the gate is wide enough for their equipment to pass through and they know how to open the gate. If you deny someone access to their land without their approval, know that you could become involved in a lawsuit.
If a new road needs to be built to access property, an easement signed by the property owner(s) of the land the road crosses and a survey showing exactly where the road is to be installed must be completed before we can begin to build it. It is highly recommended that you contact the office first so our road crew can determine where the best place for the road would be.
If it is an original Terramar tract which needs a new road due to lack of access, Terlingua Ranch will build your new road at no cost once the easement and survey is completed.
If it is a tract the has been subdivided, then Terlingua Ranch will charge you for building the new road. The cost will be determined by the Manager of Terlingua Ranch after consultation with the Road Crew Foreman.
How to Drive on Terlingua Ranch Roads & Help Save Them
- SLOW DOWN – The best thing you can do to prevent rough washboard roads is to slow down. The ideal speed is less than 25 miles per hour. When you drive too fast, the dust trail following you is the smooth part of the road blowing away and leaving washboard and rocks behind. Please limit your speed to save our roads and to protect the people and the animals who live here. If you drive slowly you get to see more of the wildlife and are less likely to run it over. Driving slowly around other vehicles and homes is just good manners. No one wants rocks thrown up damaging their vehicles or their homes. The slower you go the longer our roads and your tires will last.
- Once we have maintained the roads near your property, please drive on the whole road and slowly. At lower speeds, your tires compact the road making it more solid and sturdy. If tracks start to form, drive on other parts of the road to compact the rest of it and prevent ruts from forming.
- If your road is wet and muddy please allow it to dry as much as you can before you drive on it. Driving our roads when they are wet and muddy is one of the best ways to damage the roads. If you let the roads dry naturally the damage will be minimized.
- Never speed up when you are traveling up hill. Keep a steady and slow momentum going.
- If you have survey markers anywhere near a road, please make sure they are marked with a T-post painted white. If you have buried lines under the roads, they should be marked with a T-post painted yellow. Our Road Crew will take special care around those areas if you can clearly indicate to them where those areas are.
- Please take time to stop and remove large rocks from the road if you are physically able.
- Never put rocks in a washout on the uphill side of the road, this causes rapids that eat the road away.
- You can help stop washouts by damming up a narrow spot downstream of the road, no higher than the road. This will allow it to build up materials during future rains.
- If you have trees or shrubs growing next to the road, keep them trimmed back out of the road way. You can put the trimmings and brush on the down stream side of a wash to collect materials and slow erosion.
- We are actively seeking road material donations. Creating a rain catchment attached to the turnouts will both provide the land owner with a pond and provide roads in your neighborhood with materials. Please contact the office if you are willing to donate road materials or submit the road material donation form you can find in our Library.
New to Terlingua Ranch Roads?
There is a whole lot of middle of nowhere out here along with rough and tough roads. Most parts of the ranch do not have cell phone service so you can’t call for help. You need to be prepared and as self sufficient as possible. Always carry plenty of drinking water and let someone know where you are and when you expect to return.
With 1,100 miles of dirt and rocks roads, we go through a lot of tires on Terlingua Ranch. If you will be driving out here you need to be prepared. It is highly recommended that you always have a jack, at least one (if not two) full size spare tires, a portable air compressor, a tire iron, a can of fix-a-flat, and a tire plug kit. A good topo map and a GPS system are wonderful things to have with you too, and it is essential that you always have water with you.