Thursday, October 26, 2000
Steamboat Springs Routt County commissioner candidate Doug Monger could be up in the morning mending fences and in the next hour doing tax returns for one of his clients.
The Democratic Party candidate to replace outgoing commissioner Ben Beall says he more typifies the average Routt County resident than his opponent.
"I relate to the working community both spouses working, both working double jobs," Monger said.
But the accountant/rancher said he can blame only himself.
"I've always wanted a ranch, cows ranching is a magnet that sucks me back in. It's in my blood," said the fourth-generation Routt County rancher.
Monger, his wife, Lauretta, and his three children run about 130 cows on their 400-acre ranch near the Hayden airport.
It's actually the ranching and agricultural life that he led as a child that has prompted him to run for county commissioner, Monger said.
"I want to save it for my kids to come back to the same environment I did," Monger said as he complained about the disappearance of pasture and agricultural lands.
Monger realizes Routt County can never really go back to the way things were, but he said he has a few suggestions to keep things from getting out of hand.
As a commissioner, Monger said he is willing to take a look at overriding the state's 35-acre rule that allows owners to build homes without county control.
It's a sacred cow that many politicians won't touch, but Monger said the 35-acre rule is raping the land of agricultural uses.
Monger said he and others in the ranching and farming community have been supporting the 35-acre rule because of private-property rights.
Many ranchers have been selling their land to developers who split it up into 35-acre parcels. But Monger said other options, such as Land Preservation Subdivisions, will allow ranchers to still sell off parts of their land for development while keeping a big portion set aside for agricultural uses.
"Ranchers need to realize this is a way to save their ranches for their children," Monger said.
Monger said he wants to take the land out of developers' hands and keep it in the ranchers' control.
"We have a new generation of ranchers, including myself and my brother," Monger said. "I think if we can educate the ranching community about LPS, they'd be more receptive to the idea."