Dunrovin in legal battle over status as guest ranch


MISSOULA. Mont. - Missoula County contends Dunrovin Ranch in Lolo isn't big enough to meet the legal definition of a guest ranch. It said the ranch off the Bitterroot River doesn't get enough overnight clients to qualify as a small guest ranch.

The county claims Dunrovin should be licensed as a restaurant or hotel.

Missoula Chief Administrative Officer Dale Bickell said he wants the ranch to follow the same public health and safety standards that other businesses in Missoula County meet on a daily basis, and to abide by terms of a settlement the county and Dunrovin agreed to earlier this year. He said he doesn't want the ranch to shut down.

Dunrovin Ranch's owner, Suzanne Miller, maintains the county is trying to close her business down as a guest ranch, and to force DunrovinĀ  into a business category it is not.

She said the county wants the guest ranch to build a commercial kitchen, which Miller said isn't necessary. Miller described the issue as a 'Catch 22.'

The ranch has been under fire by the county for some time over land use issues.

A judge will hear the case in early January.

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