Strategic Relocation: US
Yes it's a stub.
It goes without saying no one has perfect knowledge of such great swaths of geography, so these are only here to be considered as data points -- not guidance on your own decision.
What do you think? Add your own thoughts, or send me a note.
A beautiful state with many great people, beautiful culture and history -- and a host of issues, from underdeveloped economy to water rights.
What I can say from my travels through the region is that water rights are very much an issue. Gun laws are generally permissive.
Just west of the Taos area is the birth area of the Earthships. While these structures are inspiring, and make up to 3-4 uses of water (see Earthship), even then most require water to be trucked in during the dry season -- which renders this area questionable at best for a family that is seeking to be self-sufficient. If water is an issue just to get by, it would prove even more difficult to try to use it for watering crops.
The Gila wilderness is home to the Gila cliff dwellings, where someone, at some point, holed up to get through ... some thing! Whether this bodes well for West NM as a retreat location, is left to the reader.
Particularly to the west of the continental divide, most water rights are allocated, and in fact, a great majority are owned by the mining companies (including rainwater collection). Private wells are metered and policed to ensure domestic use only (no consumptive use). It sucks -- this ensures that folks who own property in the area are UNABLE to use their own private wells on their property to grow food (which forces them to buy it, which forces them to work for the mining companies that own the water, ... it's just yet another enforced indentured servant arrangement). Unfortunately, the result is that I found very few people throughout the region who are striving for self-sufficient lifestyle.
To the east, water use is equally restricted, but rights are more likely to transfer with title, and even then, one can (via creative networking) still find a handful of private parties who are willing to part with their acre feet for a modest sum.
All that said, this is an area that is decently far from major population centers, which offers a sense of security. An individual who wants to "go it alone" (which is NOT advised) might still see this as a viable option.
As a native Texan, I am biased about this state (though in both good and bad ways). I am absolutely floored by the extent of fracking throughout the state, and particularly in the North hill country.
Like most metro areas, the DFW metroplex has ballooned outwards in all directions. Slightly less so thanks to Lavon Lake providing a natural barrier to expansion.
Denton County is the site of a struggle to ban fracking -- a struggle which was won for only a matter of days by the county, only to have the state overturn their decision. See here.