County focuses on preserving rural character

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The Upper Elk River Valley Community Plan dedicates about two-and-a-half pages to addressing recreation issues.

With recreational uses quickly growing in North Routt County, county officials decided about a year ago that the section would need to be expanded.

Working jointly with the U.S. Forest Service and Colorado State Parks, the county will gather information in the next year to make that update.

The joint effort will eliminate duplication of efforts and resources, said Routt County Planner Chad Phillips.

"It should save a lot of taxpayer money by saving staff resources," Phillips said.

The update likely will describe why people use the area for recreation, what the area's capacity for recreation is and how the rural character of the area could be maintained if recreational use increases, among other issues.

Phillips said he doesn't anticipate that the updated recreation plan will be more than a dozen pages when it's finished.

A first step in planning for future uses would be to inventory what recreational options are available now and to determine how much recreation the area could handle.

While the Forest Service and state park will focus their inventories on users, the county's focus is preserving the rural character of Routt County -- a goal designated in the county's master plan -- and to represent the community's interests, Phillips said.

About 2,600 letters detailing upcoming meetings for the joint planning process were mailed Wednesday to interested parties. About half of those went to property owners within the North Routt Fire Protection District, Phillips said.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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