Commissioners to hear snowmobile tour appeal

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Area residents are appealing a permit allowing guided snowmobile tours on a ranch east of Milner.

The Routt County Planning Commission granted the request from Wayne and Luanne Iacovetto of Saddleback Ranch on Dec. 4. The Iacovettos already have permits for guided horseback rides, cattle drives and sleigh rides on the ranch.

Several letters from nearby residents have been sent to the Routt County Planning Department encouraging the county to deny the permit.

A letter from Sandra Kebodeaux, who lives near Saddleback Ranch, cited pollution, noise and negative impacts on wildlife as reasons to deny the operation.

"Look deep inside yourselves and ask what you would want in your neighborhood," Kebodeaux said.

Another letter, from nearby residents Roger and Ellen Pugh, also said that the pollution, noise and harm to wildlife from the tours would be too significant.

Two letters from residents of the Saddle Mountain Ranchettes subdivision also encouraged the county to deny the permit for similar reasons.

All of the letters against the approval of the guided tours said that nearby residents did not receive enough notice about the public meetings.

A letter from Douglas and Mary Kenyon of Two Rivers Ranch supported the permit for guided tours.

As approved, the operation allows three tours that last two hours throughout the day, with operations starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m. The maximum number of guests is 24, with two guests per machine and a ratio of one guide to six guests.

The snowmobile tours would take place on the Iacovettos' 800 acres of land, as well as on the approximately 3,700 acres of land they lease from the State Land Board, according to the planning report.

Beverly Rave, district manager for the Colorado Board of Land Commissioners, wrote that the Iacovettos hold a recreational lease that gives them "the right and opportunity to use the state land for this type of activity."

At the December meeting, Division of Wildlife Officer Libbie Miller said potential negative impacts on elk could be mitigated and that the animals would adjust to regular patterns of disturbance.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail sbacon@steamboatpilot.com

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