Permit issue stalls Tiger Run Tours
BRECKENRIDGE – A longtime Summit County snowmobile touring company has ended its guided tours while it attempts to smooth over a dispute with the town of Breckenridge.Lee Frost, who has owned Tiger Run Tours since 1992, recently had his agreement with the town nullified after the town said Frost wasn’t in compliance with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for the month of August. The company has been touring Summit County since 1969.Frost needs the agreement to reach the USFS land in the Golden Horseshoe area northwest of Breckenridge it uses for tours. Frost said the town found a loophole in the system and used it to take away Tiger Run Tours’ access to cross county and town open space to get to the groomed trails on USFS land.Not so, said Breckenridge town manager Tim Gagen.”There is a very definitive requirement that he didn’t follow and that’s what terminated his agreement,” Gagen said.The requirement in question says Frost must have a valid permit with the USFS at all times to keep the license agreements active, which allow Frost’s company to cross Carpenter Placer and New York-Harum properties.In October, the town sent Frost a letter saying that because he did not have a USFS permit from Aug. 1 to Aug. 31, his license agreements with the town were no longer valid. Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton said, as far as he knows, the USFS has never had any serious problems with Frost and that if he can work things out with the town, it has no problem with him running guided tours again.
“There’s been some minor infractions we’ve worked with him on. Things like billing and getting paperwork processed on time, but we’ve never taken permanent action against him,” Newton said.It’s a different story when it comes to dealings with the town, Gagen said. “This is the last in a series of problems in him not following through with the agreements he’s signed,” Gagen said.Gagen wouldn’t elaborate on what some of the other issues were, but said he’s under the impression that Frost is supposed to be able to show he has permission from all property owners to cross their land. He also said that if Frost could show he could follow through with his license agreements, the town would consider re-signing the agreements in the future.A new deal won’t happen anytime soon, Gagen said.”We won’t spend any more time on this until after the winter season,” he said.Frost says environment could be at issue Frost told his 35 guides they wouldn’t have a job with him this winter and is now running a snowmobile rental company, an operation for which he doesn’t need a permit.
Frost said, despite this setback, his business is still making money and the real victim is the environment.”Close to as many customers will still be up there, but the land and trail system will no longer be maintained,” he said.He added that in the past, guides have ensured customers stay on the trail and out of sensitive areas, which will no longer happen.”In two years, those trails will be trashed,” he said. Frost also expressed concern over inexperienced riders getting hurt or traveling into dangerous areas because they don’t know any better.The USFS is working with Frost to alleviate some of his concerns. It has granted him a retrieval permit so he can use snowmobiles to help distressed, lost or stuck customers.The agency is also considering a grooming permit for Frost so Tiger Run Tours can continue upkeep on the trails, which are used by snowmobilers, cross country skiers and snowshoers.Frost has also asked for permission to place directional arrows along the trails to help the flow of traffic.How the permit process works
For the past 35 years, Tiger Run Tours has obtained an outfitter guide permit with the U.S. Forest Service that must be renewed every year.Frost’s permit expires July 31. Every January, Frost informs the USFS that he wants to renew his permit for the following year, which begins the months of paperwork.The USFS looks at the usage report and operating plan, then sends out the permit, which the owner must sign and send back for the USFS ranger to sign. This year, the new permit wasn’t signed by both Frost and Newton until Sept. 1. Newton chalked up the missing month of permit coverage to slow paperwork.”In this case, I think he was slow to get (the permit) back to us, but on occasion, we’ve been slow to get things out too,” Newton said. “(Frost) is in compliance with forest service rules and regulations at this point.”The Carpenter Placer and New York-Harum parcels of land surround 40 acres that Frost owns, which he uses to store his snowmobiles and stage his tours. All three parcels of land are in the middle of 8,600 acres of town- and county-owned open space, private property and National Forest land. The Breckenridge Open Space Advisory Council, the county Open Space Advisory Commission and the USFS are creating guidelines to determine how the area should be used. The uses include motorized and nonmotorized recreation.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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