A request to allow guided snowmobile tours on a ranch east of Milner and south of U.S. Highway 40 will be heard by Routt County planning commissioners tonight.
The request is from Wayne and Luanne Iacovetto of Saddleback Ranch, who have a working ranch where they raise cattle and hay. The Iacovettos already have permits for guided horseback rides, cattle drives and sleigh/hay rides.
According to planning documents, the snowmobile tours would take place on 800 acres owned by the Iacovettos, as well as on about 3,700 acres they lease from the State Land Board.
Beverly Rave, district manager for the State Land Board, said snowmobile tours would be allowed under the Iacovettos' lease in a letter included in the planning documents.
The proposed operation would involve three tours a day from Nov. 20 to April 1, depending on snow conditions. Each tour would have two guides and up to 22 clients, with a maximum of 14 snowmobiles per tour, according to the planning report.
Tours would take place during the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and each would last about two hours. Snowmobilers would travel through meadows and existing ranch roads on groomed trails.
Goggles, suits and boots would be provided for all riders, and safety instruction would be given before each tour, with a fenced area designated for training before the tour begins.
No complaints from neighboring landowners have been received by the planning department, Routt County Planner Chris Brookshire said.
One potential concern is that elk use the area where the snowmobile tours would take place in the winter, Brookshire said. Officials from the Colorado Division of Wildlife have been contacted and will have comments available at the meeting today.
Any potential concerns could be addressed through changing the location of trails, Brookshire said.
The Iacovettos have had good relations with their neighbors in the past, she said.
"They've already been running quite a few tours. Granted, none of them have been motorized," Brookshire said. "So far, what they've been doing hasn't caused any problems."
Parking and traffic will not be a problem, as the Iacovettos said they would pick clients up from Steamboat Springs and drive them to the ranch for the tours.
The Routt County Planning Commission will decide on the snowmobile tour permit at their meeting at 6 p.m. today at the commissioners hearing room in the Routt County Courthouse Annex.
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