May 08, 2007

It's the Code of the West, Pilgrim

A number of rural places in Colorado and elsewhere have produced booklets for newcomers to explain simple facts such as "open range" laws and the fact that police and fire response is not exactly instantaneous.

Larimer County, which includes the city of Fort Collins, but also some more remote areas, put its "Code of the West" online.

Some highlights:

¶ The fact that you can drive to your property does not necessarily guarantee that you, your guests and emergency service vehicles can achieve that same level of access at all times.

¶ Unpaved roads generate dust. When traffic levels reach specific levels, Larimer County treats county system roads to suppress the dust, but dust is still a fact of life for most rural residents.

¶ If your road is unpaved, it is highly unlikely that Larimer County will pave it in the foreseeable future. Check carefully with the County Road and Bridge Department when any statement is made by the seller of any property that indicates any unpaved roads will be paved!

¶ The water flowing in irrigation ditches belongs to someone. You cannot assume that because the water flows across your property, you can use it.

¶ Agriculture is an important business in Larimer County. If you choose to live among the farms and ranches of our rural countryside, do not expect county government to intervene in the normal day-to-day operations of your agri-business neighbors. In fact, Colorado has "Right to Farm" legislation that protects farmers and ranchers from nuisance and liability lawsuits. It enables them to continue producing food and fiber.

And under the heading "Mother Nature:"

¶ The topography of the land can tell you where the water will go in the case of heavy precipitation. When property owners fill in ravines, they have found that the water that drained through that ravine now drains through their house.

¶ Spring run-off can cause a very small creek to become a major river. Many residents use sand bags to protect their homes. The county does not provide sand bags, equipment or people to protect private property from flooding.


gl. said...

good post, chas. and a remarkably readable document from the county. i've grown up believing mail was ubiquitous, even for rural areas, so i was surprised by "1.12 - Mail delivery is not available to all areas of the county. Ask the postmaster to describe the system for your area."

Anonymous said...

Number 4 (irrigation water) has to be a real mind blower for folks from the east who don't understand how important water is - and how every drop is usually spoken for. I'd imagine that many (formerly) urban westerners (I'm thinking esp. of LA) would get it, once told, but for someone from New Hampshire, let's say - yikes...

Steve Bodio said...

I want the Magdalena Chamber of Commerce to post this at the city limits.

Anonymous said...

They should add "Sound of gunfire in the Fall is no reason to freak out," "Thank you, but we really don't need to be reformed," and " 'Locals' isn't the same as 'Neighbors'."