Patrick and Tammie Delaney are envisioning people saying their wedding vows this summer at their historic ranch overlooking the Yampa River two miles northeast of Hayden.
"We have always thought it was a nice place to share with people," Tammie Delaney said. "Over the years, we have had people say, 'Can we have a wedding or event?'"
Now, it will be a possibility.
The Routt County Board of Commissioners gave approval Tuesday for a special-use permit that would allow the Delaneys to have wedding receptions and special events for as many as 200 people 12 times a year. It also will allow them to rent out a three-bedroom bunkhouse on a nightly basis to anyone interested in experiencing life on the 52-acre historic ranch.
They say people who visit the ranch will take in the great views and endless recreational opportunities including bird watching. If visitors take horses, they will be able to stable them in the original balloon-framed barn.
Several of the structures on the property date to the 1920s and '30s.
"There is a desperate need for these unique places that people aren't going to find anywhere else," said Tammie Delaney, who is involved with cultural-heritage tourism in Routt County.
The Delaney family bought the ranch in 1994 with plans of maintaining it and restoring it over time.
"Every time, people say, 'Wow,' Tammie said. "It's just something so different from the norm. We've always been encouraged by others to do something with it."
The Delaney family shares the land with their horses, sheep and prizewinning yaks.
Patrick, who is the president of the Historic Routt County board, said he hopes the property can not only serve as a scenic backdrop for events but also as an educational tool for agriculture's history.
"We've lost the connection to the land," he said. "There is a small section of people (who) understand chickens lay eggs and cattle are slaughtered for steak."
The ranch is registered in the Routt County and Colorado historic registries.
It once was used as a headquarters for a guiding and outfitting operation in the 1960s and '70s. Hunters would stay in the bunkhouse.
It is the ranch's authenticity that they think will make the ranch a popular destination.
"Heritage tourism is the fastest growing segment of tourism right now," Tammie Delaney said.
-- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210
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