The Bureau of Land Management and Park County signed an agreement for the Sheriff’s Office to patrol Guffey Gorge during peak use times. The commissioners signed the agreement Oct. 8. 

Under the agreement, BLM will request services at Guffey Gorge and reimburse the county for vehicle patrols on County Road 102 near Guffey Gorge and foot patrols around the swimming area. 

This is in addition to normal activities by the sheriff’s office in the area. 

Peak use in the agreement is defined as mid-May to mid-September; Friday through Monday, from noon to 4 p.m. 

BLM will reimburse the county at $45 per hour for a single unit patrol. 

The sheriff and BLM ranger will determine if additional deputies are needed for any particular situation. 

Time travel from Fairplay to Guffey Gorge will be calculated at three hours per round trip and will be reimbursed. 

Patrols will focus on parking violations, DUIs, and other issues such as trespass, that are directly related to Guffey Gorge. 

Deputies will keep a daily log and the sheriff will send a monthly patrol report to the BLM. A quarterly report will also be sent to the BLM. 

The agreement is in effect from May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2024. Maximum payment per the agreement is $10,000. If the funds are about to run out, the county can request additional funds with 30 days notice. 

Forest Reserve Title III funds 

Under the Federal Secure Rural Schools Act, counties with Federal lands receive funding to help stabilize revenues lost because of declining Federal timber sales. The program was started in the early 1900s. 

The funding comes from other activities, such as grazing leases and special use permits on Federal lands. 

Title III funding must be used for specific activities, including wildfire preparedness, FireWise activities, emergency services on Federal land, and developing community wildfire protection plans. 

Activities and dollars spent must be documented and reported to the United States Forest Service at the end of the federal year which began Oct. 1. 

According to the USFS website, the county must publish its intent to use Title III funds for authorized projects in a local paper and documented in meeting minutes of the board of county commissioners. 

This year, the county received $17,118 and five applications for funding. Platte Canyon Fire Protection District’s application wasn’t eligible, because it was for past activities.

Funding must be used for planned activities in the year it is received. It cannot be used to reimburse past activities. 

Park County Search and Rescue received $9,000. The money can be used for search and rescue operations on federal land, or training.

The other three applications were for FireWise activities. Elk Creek Highlands Property Owners Association received $500. Fire Adapted Bailey received $1,700 and Burland Homeowners Association received $2,500.

Commissioner Dick Elsner said if money is not spent as requested, the organization will receive an invoice and the money must be returned.

Health Order

Health Order 2020-07 was approved. It adopts the state health “Safer At Home Dial” order that specifies three levels of restrictions based on numbers within the past two weeks of positive COVID-19 cases, the percentage of positive tests and hospitalization rates. 

As numbers decrease and metrics are met, counties advance from Level Three to Level One. Park County is now at Level One.

Elsner said the goal is to advance through all three stages and move to the next lower stage number, “Protect Our Neighbors.” 

Commissioner Mike Brazell said this gives the counties more control in curbing COVID-19.

Some of the metrics on Level One are wearing masks, group size of 25 or less and maintaining distance requirements, but doesn’t state the distance. It allows 50 percent capacity inside buildings, and bars can stay open until midnight. 

The full health order and activities allowed are on the county’s website, www.parkco.us.

Abatement denied

An abatement petition by Lynn Hahn for property in Thousand Peaks subdivision was denied. The request was to change the use to agricultural.

The property lost its agricultural status in 2018 for not turning in the documentation proving it was used for agricultural purposes. 

Assessor Monica Jones said the subdivision homeowners association has a grazing lease and sends the proper documentation to property owners if they have paid the HOA dues that year. 

The owner then sends it to the assessor’s office to receive or keep agricultural status.

It takes three years of documenting agricultural uses to receive agricultural property status or to reinstate it. 

Noise and vouchers 

A new noise ordinance was postponed because the commissioners need time to review it. It can be found attached to the Oct. 7 county commissioner meeting agenda on the county’s website. 

Vouchers in the amount of $260,390 were approved for payment. Numbers were rounded by The Flume.

The general and public works funds spent the most at $124,500 and $65,000 respectively. 

Four funds spent between $10,000 and $20,000. The funds were grant, E-911, sales tax and fleet services.

 

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