Respect the Rural: Education continues with property tax bill flyers
With an increase in people recreating in, new homebuyers moving in and second-home owners spending more time in rural Routt County the past few years, agricultural and nonprofit organizations are continuing to educate about “Respect the Rural.”
A Respect the Rural handout will be included in the tax bills arriving this week for some 28,000 Routt County property owners with the emphasis on “what to know when living in or visiting rural Routt County.” The outreach is sponsored by Routt County Colorado State University Extension and Community Agriculture Alliance.
“The primary goal is to share information with new landowners and new community members,” said Michele Meyer, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance. “Our hope is to connect new landowners with community resources so they can learn more and access available programs.”
Highlights in the current handout, which is posted online at CommunityAgAlliance.org, include rules of the road, respect private property, mind the gate, pack out trash, enjoy the ride, be a good neighbor, fence-out laws, livestock guardian dogs, pretty flower or a weed, be a steward, keep a balanced river system, don’t be scared of the dark, protect your home property and forest, and water resources first in time, first in right.
Todd Hagenbuch, CSU Extension county director and agricultural agent, said the number of calls he receives regarding rural concerns and questions have gradually increased during his 11 years in the position.
“We know that when people move in the rural area, they want to be good neighbors,” Hagenbuch said. “So, this is an effort to help them have the information to be better neighbors.”
The educators hope property owners, along with renters, will watch for the updated “Rural Living Guidebook” to be posted on the Routt County CSU Extension website later this winter. Printed copies of the guidebook also will be available. For now, the extension service has a guide to rural living available under the “Ag & Natural Resources” tab on its website.
Headlining the handout inserted in the tax bills is “rules of the road.”
“Slow down. Cows, sheep and horses don’t understand cars or bikes. They have the right of way on all roads, so whether you are in a car, on your bike or on foot, yield to animals,” according to the Respect the Rural handout. “And remember that tractors and other farm equipment do not stop or maneuver like cars. Give them time, lots of space and be patient.”
An Enjoy the Ride tip explains, “whether on bike, foot or car, slow down and enjoy the view. County roads are not like driving on the highway. Be safe, slow down and enjoy the ride. Smile, wave and be polite.”
A Be a Good Neighbor tip notes, “whether you’ve lived here for generations or just moved in, talk with your neighbors. Get to know them and share your contact information. In case of an emergency, it’s important to know and can make life easier.”
“We definitely need to educate new people buying land, but we also need to educate visitors on appropriate leave-no-trace type behaviors,” said Lyn Halliday, board president of the Routt County Conservation District.
For Halliday, packing out trash and the increasing numbers of bikers on trails and roads are items she believes need more attention.
“Biking on county roads and on bike trails have become very popular, and that is one of the categories where people can work together toward all of our rural goals,” Halliday said.
A list of local agencies that serve landowners is available in a Landowners Handbook under the resources section on the Routt County Conservation District website at RouttCountyCD.com/resources.
“We are trying to be educational and help new community members and landowners have positive interactions with their neighbors,” Meyer said. “For new people who have never lived in rural communities it is important to understand issues such as leaving gates the way they are found, keeping distance from working livestock dogs, slowing down for livestock on the road, and giving space to slow-moving large farm and ranch equipment.”
To reach Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email sromig@SteamboatPilot.com.
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