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Before You Make the Move   arrow

There is so much to think about when moving to and living in a rural setting. The following information is a list of quick facts and items to consider when living in a rural setting. Most of the topics are covered in detail in their own sections throughout this book. The following information is offered in the hope it can help you enjoy your decision to reside in a rural setting.flatopsbw3


If you buy property at a time of year when you can drive right to it with no problem, that does not necessarily mean you, your guests, and/or emergency service vehicles can achieve the same access at all times of the year. Please consider obstacles that may arise.

Emergency response times (sheriff, fire protection, medical care, etc.) cannot be guaranteed. You may find emergency response can be slow and expensive if access to your property is difficult or your residence is not properly addressed and marked. In some conditions emergency response may not be available.

Legal problems can arise with property access, especially if access is gained through another person’s property. It is advisable to obtain legal advice for these types of questions.

Road maintenance can be a chore and the costs can add up. Routt County manages over 900 miles of roads and does not maintain all county roads at all times, which can mean no grading or snow plowing. Make sure you know what type of maintenance to expect.

Extreme weather conditions can destroy roads. It is advisable to know if your private road was properly engineered and constructed.

If you plan to build on your property, it is prudent to check on construction access. Routt County Road  and Bridge Department has road specifications to assist you in designing your access road. Many large  construction vehicles cannot get through small, narrow roads.

Some weather conditions in Routt County require the use of four-wheel drive, chains, etc. for mobility and safety.


Telephone communications may be different once you move to Routt County. Sometimes it is difficult to obtain a separate line for fax use. Cellular phones do not work in all areas of the county.

Internet service may not exist in rural areas of Routt County.  Satellite providers or dial-up internet may be your only choice for  access to the internet.

If sewer service is not available, you need to use an approved septic system or other treatment process. Please see the “Water Disposal Systems” section in this guide.

If you do not have access to a supply of treated domestic water, you will need to get an alternative supply. The most common method is a water well.  Refer to the “Water and Water Rights” section in this book for more information.

Electric service is not available to all areas of Routt County. Determine the proximity of electrical power. It can be expensive to    extend power lines to certain areas.   Living “off the grid” is more possible than it used to be, but still provides challenges.


Farmers and ranchers often work around the clock, especially during planting and harvest time. Bawling livestock and running equipment can be noisy. Odor associated with livestock production can also be considered a problem. Unlike noise, however, odor is not always seasonal. These activities are normal and necessary to farm and ranch operations.  Routt County has a Right-to-Farm ordinance.

There are laws regarding free-roaming pets, particularly dogs. If you reside in close proximity to livestock, you need to be aware that pets can be destroyed if they harass livestock.

While there is already a law regarding weed control, not everyone is aware of what it entails. Land management, or lack thereof, can lead to conflict among neighbors and can sometimes carry legal penalties. Please see the “Weed Law Responsibilities for Landowners and Managers” section of this book for more    information.

Planting and other agriculture operations can cause dust, especially during windy, dry weather.

Farmers and ranchers often burn their ditches to keep them clean of debris, weeds, and other obstructions. This creates smoke that some may find objectionable.

Colorado has an open range law. This means it is your responsibility to keep livestock off your property with a legal fence. Cattle, sheep, or other livestock must be fenced out to keep them out. Please see the section on “Colorado Fence and Trespass Law.”