May 2008

Many people buy land in Thousand Peaks Ranch (“the Ranch”) in order to obtain solitude and isolation from
“civilization” or “city life.”  At least, that is what many of us say.  For those who choose to live at the Ranch full
time, the reality that we are not living in the city should sink in quickly.  A higher degree of self-reliance is required
for those who choose to live on the Ranch. There are no public utilities, no paved roads, no sewer systems, no
lighted streets, no mail delivery, no trash pickup, no fire hydrants, no nearby medical services, an over-stretched
sheriff’s department and minimal fire-response capability.  Wild animals such as bear, mountain lions, pronghorn,
deer, elk, badgers, bobcats, coyotes, and the like roam the area.  In fact, the area is not classified as “rural” but
instead is considered to be “frontier.”

    For those who choose to live here, the “city” attitude needs to be left at the county line.  If you choose to live
here, you must be prepared to, and indeed be able to, survive long periods of isolation, making use of your own
resources.  Services taken for granted in an urban setting are not available. Help may be at hand from neighbors
or the County, but you should not expect to be able to pick up the telephone and have it arrive promptly.

    In Colorado, residential subdivisions must, under law, have a corporation to govern the use of properties
within it.  At the Ranch, a property owners’ association was mandated by the County.  In 1985, the Thousand
Peaks Ranch Association (‘TPRA” or “the Association”) was established. A Declaration of Covenants, Conditions,
and Restrictions to govern the lots and a set of Bylaws of Thousand Peaks Ranch Association to govern the
TPRA were created.  These documents are on record with the Park County Recorder, and copies are usually
provided to buyers as part of their purchase at closing.

    The Association is run by a Board of Directors elected by the property owners at an Annual Meeting of the
TPRA.  The Board of Directors currently consists of 5 members, who are volunteers.  The Board members
receive no payment from the Association and are not the Association’s employees.  They volunteer their time to
carry out the functions of the Association, not to respond to the needs of individual lot owners.  The members of
the Board are not on call for matters involving individual lots.  Above all, they do not volunteer to receive abuse
and/or threats from members of the Association.

    The winters of 2007 and 2008 have brought certain realities to light:

1.        Basic Economics:  There is only so much money available for the Association “to promote the health,
safety and general welfare of the residents in the Properties and for the maintenance of the roadways within the
Subdivision,” as stated in the bylaws.  Each of the 338 lots is required to pay a $100.00 per year assessment to
Association which, if everyone were to pay it, would result in gross income of $33,800.00 each year. However, the
assessment was established in 1985 and has not changed since.  So, adjusted for inflation, the $100.00 amount
established in 1985 will now only buy approximately $50.00 worth of services. In addition, certain monies are
obtained as a result of a cattle lease covering all unfenced lots on the Ranch.  In 2007, the Association
contracted to receive $7,200.00 for the cattle lease.  This figure, however, is subject to fluctuation, based upon
beef prices, weather, moisture, and the condition of the Ranch.  Also, as the years pass, more property owners
are fencing their properties, which in turn reduces the amount of acreage available to lease out for cattle
grazing.  So, the only predictably reliable income for the Ranch comes from owner- paid dues on the lots.  And as
more owners build on their property and more roads are finished, this income is spread thinner.

Assessments are used for road construction and maintenance.  The Association has built new roads (if one did
not already exist) to a homeowner’s property, upon the receipt of a Certificate of Occupancy.  In the past this has
cost approximately $10,000.00 per mile.  Additionally, summer road maintenance has been carried out as
needed, in order to repair the roads after the winter and summer moisture.  A major factor for the future will be
that, with fuel costs escalating, costs for heavy equipment will increase in the future, which will increase
equipment and service costs to the Association.

2.        Snow Removal.        The winters of 2007 and 2008 were what some long-time residents called “normal”
winters in Park County, following a dry decade.   As a result of the snow and wind on the Ranch in 2008, many of
our roads were covered with snowdrifts that were 6-7’ deep. The roads themselves were essentially “lost” for
several months, and emergency trails had to be used. In fact, Park County itself was placed under a “state of
emergency” because it was unable to clear snow and ice from County roads, and sought assistance from other
counties to help clear them.  

The Association hired contractors to remove snow from the roads beginning in October 2007 and continued
spending its resources on snow removal through the end of March 2008.  In some cases, the Association’s
contractors could not access Ranch roads, because County roads were impassable. In all, the Association spent
over $50,000.00 for snow removal for the 2008 winter season.  In order to pay snow removal bills, dues money
received for 2008 had to be used.  It should also be noted that similar expenses were incurred in the winter of
2007.  Obviously, this is not a sustainable situation.  

A common misconception of some property owners on the Ranch is that they have a “right” to have snow
removed from the roads, or to say it in a different way, that the Association has a “duty” to keep snow off the
roadways.  This is incorrect.  The Association has no duty, and the property owners have no right, to have
roadways cleared.  The Declaration of Covenants states in Item 14 that the assessments are to be used
exclusively:  “to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the residents in the Properties and for the
maintenance of the roadways within the Subdivision.”  It makes no reference to snow removal. Furthermore,
under Article V, Section 2 of the Bylaws, it is within the exclusive province of the Board of Directors to decide how
the use of the assessments will be used for the purposes described in the Declaration of Covenants.  

Therefore, by this Statement and Policy, the Board of Directors hereby stipulates that the Association has no
obligation to remove snow from the roadways of the Ranch, nor to provide access to any or all properties, nor do
the members of the Association have a “right” to have snow removed.

    The Board of Directors reserves the right to remove snow at its discretion and based upon available
discretionary funds, to allow access to Ranch roads for permanent residents.  If the Board decides to remove
snow, the Association is not obligated to come back and clean the road again if the wind drifts snow over the
road, or if it snows again.  If you leave the Ranch after a road has been cleared and you cannot return due to
weather conditions, do not call members of the Board to complain, as the Association has no obligation to remove
or re-remove snow or ice from the roads.

    This policy is similar to that of Park County.  See for more information about the
County’s policy regarding snow removal and calling the County in emergency circumstances.

    If members have houses on their properties on the Ranch, but do not reside on the Ranch in the winter, the
advice of the Board is for such members to winterize their houses by draining all water from their pipes and filling
their propane tanks, prior to any heavy snowfall.   Snow or ice will not be removed from the roadways so that
members or propane trucks can access unoccupied properties.

    In light of this policy:

•        Review your personal situation.  If you will have urgent need to exit your property at specific times, for any
reason, in snow or ice-storm conditions, you may need to reconsider living on the Ranch during the winter.

•        Prepare for winter conditions.  If you make the personal decision to live on the Ranch during winter, it
should be with the understanding that the roadways may be unusable for considerable periods.  Fill your propane
tanks before the snow hits and a five hundred gallon tank may not be big enough!  Be sure to stockpile enough
food and supplies to last in the event of an extended stay at home due to weather.  Many full-time residents have
purchased snowmobiles and park their vehicles by Highways 9 or 285.  If you are not able to ride on or operate a
snowmobile or a similar vehicle, you may need to reconsider living on the Ranch during the winter.

•        You must use common sense, if you need to leave the Ranch temporarily, or to go to town. Checking the
short-term weather forecast is essential.  The South Park wind can drift snow over the roadways in little time,
sometimes in minutes.  If you leave the Ranch on clear roads, you cannot assume that the roads will be clear
when you return.  If you have animals, you may not want to leave them to fend for themselves.  You could be
“snowed out” for as many days as you were “snowed in.”

•        Do not call Board members because there is snow or ice on the roadways.  A neighbor may volunteer to
help you, but in emergency, you should consider contacting County authorities.  Instructions relating to this can
be found on P. 5 of the County’s leaflet “Reality of Winter Living in Park County,” or at  
Pay particular attention to the paragraph stating that if the County feels that your emergency was not genuine,
you will be charged.

•        Mud.  For those owners that have been on the Ranch in the Spring after the snow begins to melt, or in the
Summer after the monsoon rains, one can easily recognize "mud season".  The roads become muddy, which
sometimes can be 1 to 2 feet deep and can be difficult to navigate through.  There is nothing the Association, or
the County for that matter, can do about the mud.  Do not call Board members to complain about the mud.

•        Mud Ruts.  As the muddy season begins to subside, the roads will have deep mud ruts. It would be a waste
of economic resources to grade mud ruts until the roads dry out.  Do not call Board members to complain about
the mud ruts.

•        Frost Heaves.  Frost Heaves occur in the roads after they have frozen.  They are a geologic reality.  Do not
call Board members to complain about frost heaves.