Moffat County officials urge people to keep safety in mind at Sombrero Ranches Horse Drive | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County officials urge people to keep safety in mind at Sombrero Ranches Horse Drive

Horses come through town during the Sombrero Ranches Horse Drive along U.S. Highway 40 in Maybell in May 2010.

CRAIG — At Sombrero Ranches’ annual horse drive — set for Sunday, May 6, county officials hope the only thing flying near the drive are horses' hooves.

The Moffat County Board of County Commissioners urged those piloting drones not to fly the machines near the horses in a resolution passed unanimously at the BOCC's regular meeting Tuesday morning. Though it specifically mentions drones, the resolution calls for spectators to be mindful of actions that could spook a horse, including loud noises and sudden movements of unfamiliar objects.

"Really the issue with horses is more than just drones," said county attorney Rebecca Tyree, as she presented the resolution to the BOCC. "The resolution is basically encouraging people to be careful around horses, and they could wave a flag or yell or do all kinds of things which could disturb the horses and put people at risk."

The Federal Aviation Administration has jurisdiction over the airspace, and the resolution urges those attending the horse drive to adhere to the agency's safety guidelines regarding drones, which call for drone pilots to avoid flying over sporting events and heavily traveled roadways. Other FAA guidelines area as follows.

• Fly below 400 feet above ground level at all times

• Keep your aircraft in sight at all times.

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• Do not fly near airports — stay outside a five-mile radius from any active airport or airfield.

• Remain clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations

• Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property, power stations, water treatment facilities, correctional facilities, sporting events and heavily traveled roadways.

• Stay clear of FAA temporary flight restrictions, fires, crime scenes and sporting events.

• Follow community-based safety guidelines developed by organizations such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

• Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.

The resolution was brought forward at the suggestion of the Maybell Fire Department, which was concerned about rider and spectator safety at the event, Tyree said.

Other actions taken in Tuesday's BOCC meeting are as follows.

• The board proclaimed the month of May Higher Education Month. The proclamation specifically states the BOCC’s support of Colorado Northwest Community College.

• County Road and Bridge Director Dan Miller said the Yampa River Bridge on Moffat County Road 19 near Maybell is expected to open this weekend. Though he made "no promises," Miller said the bridge is expected to be able to handle traffic without weight restrictions this weekend, though it will be roughly paved. Next week, the road will be smoothed and fully paved. Repairs to the bridge have completed much more quickly than anticipated. The repair has taken about two weeks, though the closure was expected to last until July. The bridge has been closed to all traffic since April 11, and it has been closed to trucks weighing more than five tons since October 2017.

• The BOCC approved a request to re-hire an employee who retired from the Housing Authority Food Service. The position oversees the Meals on Wheels program and food service at Moffat County's Sunset Meadow's complexes. Each member of the BOCC echoed the sentiment that the position provides a vital service to the community.

• The BOCC heard an update on the Moffat County School District from Superintendent Dave Ulrich.

• The board signed resolutions for transfer and payment of payroll warrants.

• The BOCC signed contracts for two programs, a contract for adult education classes administered through the Department of Human Services and a contract for mental health services.

Contact Eleanor Hasenbeck at 970-875-1795 or ehasenbeck@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter, @elHasenbeck.