Village at Wolf Creek... 1980s pipe dreams over reality, Rio Grande river losses

… this round. :smirk:
Well the buzz in this neighborhood is that Rio Grande National Forest is about to release the final final Environmental Impact Statement,
which once again rolls over for Clear Channel co-founder and Texas car dealer bazillionaire Red McCombs’ obsession with tearing
up a keystone “parcel” to the Wolf Creek watershed, source waters for interstate international Rio Grande River.
This is only an introduction to the main act, which will follow in a day or two. :slight_smile:

Celebrating Alberta Park and Honoring Wolf Creek Rejecting the Village At Wolf Creek, list of go to info and resources Art for the Endangered Landscape: Honoring Wolf Creek Friends of Wolf Creek is planning an informative and inspiring art opportunity this summer, honoring Wolf Creek Pass. Artists of all disciplines will converge at the Wolf Creek Ski Area on Saturday June 20, 2015 to spend the day in the creative process. Then, a traveling art show and sale featuring art works, interpetation and music inspired from Wolf Creek will run in Pagosa 9/26 to 10/26 and Alamosa 10/30-11/29. Durango and Denver dates TBA!

That’s funny, was going to fix that title, yeah, yeah, yeah “loses” not losses.
But, it won’t let me without removing the links, ain’t gonna do it, the links stay, the typo stays.

UPDATE - VWC-RGNF deal tossed out! Judge Rejects Flawed Process - RockyMtnWild Press Release
no-villageatwolfcreek{dot}blogspot{dot}com /2017/05/vwc-rgnf-deal-tossed-out{dot}html
Any future Village Proposal Must Address Development Impacts on the National Forest and Lynx
Denver, CO — The Honorable Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch issued an Order today affirming that the Forest Service “failed to consider important aspects of the issues before them, offered an explanation for their decision that runs counter to the evidence, failed to base their decision on consideration of the relevant factors, and based their decision on an analysis that is contrary to law." This Order concludes another chapter in this decades long saga to protect Wolf Creek pass from a large scale residential and commercial development that could accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 visitors.
“This ruling is an incredible victory for the flora and fauna that rely on Wolf Creek pass for their survival," stated Tehri Parker, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Wild. “This order specifically recognizes the ‘unique’ environmental qualities of this region, and the role that it plays as a wildlife movement corridor between the Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness areas. We couldn’t be happier with this outcome and getting this great news on Endangered Species Day!"
The Court rejected the Forest Service’s conclusion that it lacked any control over the use of the private parcel. The Court explained that “there is no legal or logical basis for Defendants" position in the FEIS and ROD that the Forest Service had no power or jurisdiction to limit or regulate development on the federal lands being conveyed to LMJV in the present exchange." The Court was troubled by the fact that the Forest Service previously conditioned use of the original parcel created in 1986 “with a scenic easement that limited development."
Judge Matsch was also concerned with the fact that “development resulting from the Forest Service’s approval of the land exchange will adversely impact an endangered species, yet fails to comply with the statutory requirements for the protection of that species." The species the Court was referring to is the federally listed Canada lynx which would have been harmed had the Village construction and operation commenced.

Yippy, excuse me, gotta do a victory lap.
Although it still ain’t over, the billionaire’s insider land trade deal with the Rio Grande National Forest is finally officially dead.

Not that 'ol Red is knocked out, but his past 12 years of a very expensive end run maneuvers have been throughly trashed thanks to public awareness and much resistance, and righteously good hard working lawyers.

Judge ends ‘Village at Wolf Creek’ land exchange

By Aedan Hannon Herald Staff Writer

Thursday, Dec 16, 2021

District of Colorado Judge John L. Kane officially unwound the 2015* land exchange between Rio Grande National Forest and Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture this week, ending one of the paths forward for the development of the “Village at Wolf Creek.”

The ruling confirms a major victory for environmental groups in Southwest Colorado that have fought to stop the 1,700-unit development that would have served 8,000 to 10,000 people adjacent to the remote Wolf Creek Ski Area.

“It really just ties up the bow,” said Jimbo Buickerood, the lands and forest protection program manager with the nonprofit San Juan Citizens Alliance. …

*Actually, Red McCombs land exchange strategy started around 2009, but went through a major readjustment in 2015 .

Somethings are worth making a fuss about.


Another nail in the coffin of the billionaire Red McCombs’ bizarre fantasy of building a luxury village for 10 to 8 thousand pampered ultra-rich citizens at 10,300 feet, that’s even higher than Silverton’s 9,300 elevation, though that town was justified by the mountains being full of the cure for gold fever.

All this speculation would have to offer home owners is tons of snow in the winter near the bottom of a ski lift. Oh, also some great views of a bark beetle devastated Spruce forest. All at the price of irreparably damaging and polluting the integrity of a major watershed of the Rio Grande River.

By Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun

“Judge Arguello on Thursday ruled that the Forest Serviceshould not have relied on its “flawed” and **“legally deficient”**2015 environmental review of Wolf Creek Village to make its 2019 access decision. She ruled both the 2019 right of way decision by the Forest Service, just like the agency’s 2015 approval of the land exchange, was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“… confirmed an earlier ruling that the Forest Service “failed to consider important aspects of the issues before them, offered an explanation for their decision that runs counter to the evidence, failed to base their decision on consideration of the relevant factors, and based their decision on an analysis that is contrary to the law. …”

“We’ve never seen an honest evaluation of the environmental impacts of constructing a city of 8,000 people at over 10,000 feet atop one of snowiest locations in Colorado, probably because the impacts if revealed would be staggering,” Mark Pearson, executive director at San Juan Citizens Alliance, said in a statement.

Someone’s reminded me, this thread is ready for an update:

February 22, 2023

‘Red’ McCombs dies at 95

Red McCombs, Car Salesman Turned Media Mogul, Dies at 95

I did meet him twice and all I can say is that he was a man for whom too much was never enough.

Now I can only hope his family will reconsider their Alberta Park misadventure, then do the right thing by trading the Alberta Park parcel for something more realistic at lower elevation, or simply returning it to it’s rightful owners, the national trust, within the protection of the Rio Grande National Forest.

They could then change the name to “Red McCombs’ Memorial Meadow”.

After all, it is in the heart of the headwaters to the interstate, international Rio Grande River, it deserves to be left alone, serving its historic function as watershed and wildlife refuge.

What better tribute could there be?


INDEX of VWC-Environmental Impact Statement issues …


Issue 1: The village proposal expands impacts of the federally permitted ski area development

Issue 2: Judicial orders preclude reliance on FEIS

Issue 3: The Forest Service has never made Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture’s proposal (ANILCA alternative) available for review by the public or other local, State, and Federal agencies with jurisdiction and control over the Wolf Creek Ski Area complex

Issue 4: The purpose and need and designation of the NEPA “Federal Action” are invalid

Issue 5: The FEIS perpetuates the same structural flaws addressed by the previous injunction and settlement

Issue 6: The range of alternatives considered is inappropriately narrow

Issue 7: Alternatives involving mitigation measures and ANILCA terms and conditions were not analyzed

Issue 8: The no-action alternative is inappropriately dismissed

Issue 9: The Forest Service failed to incorporate the input of several key cooperating agencies

Issue 10: ANILCA and existing Forest Service regulations do not require enhanced road access be provided to the federally encumbered Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture parcels

Issue 11: New information and stale (dated) analysis requires new NEPA process

Issue 12: ANILCA as preferred alternative is not compared to other alternatives

Issue 13: The consideration of connected actions and indirect and cumulative impacts in the DEIS is inadequate

Issue 14: The property appraisal confirms adequate access and comparable properties exist

Issue 15: The effects on wetlands are inadequately analyzed

Issue 16: The ANILCA alternative would lead to a loss of Canada lynx habitat and reduced functioning of an important Canada lynx linkage

Issue 17: The proposed decision would violate standards, guidelines, and objectives for lynx conservation

Issue 18: Spruce bark beetle impacts on lynx habitat requires additional analysis

Issue 19: The proposed conservation measures would not be effective in reducing impacts to lynx nor promoting recovery to a full, viable population

Issue 20: The Lynx Conservation Strategy was developed without any public involvement, in violation of NEPA

Issue 21: Application of any conservation measures is at best uncertain

Issue 22: The action alternatives would harm other wildlife

Issue 23: The action alternatives would reduce water quality

Issue 24: Lack of mitigation measures

Issue 25: Water supply for either action alternative may not be sufficient or reliable

Issue 26: In violation of NEPA, the FEIS fails to analyze the feasibility of, and the possible impacts from, a grade separated interchange at the village access road with Highway 160

Issue 27: The FEIS fails to analyze the comparative impacts of expanding federal control via the scenic easement

Issue 28: Failure to reinitiate consultation for the yellow-billed cuckoo pursuant to Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act

Issue 29: Bias and proponent control of the third party NEPA contractor was built into the contract

Issue 30: Failure to consider new information

Issue 31: Failure to consider the best available scienceIssue 32: Failure to adhere to NEPA’s public involvement mandates

Issue 33: Reasonable use and enjoyment that minimizes environmental effects requires an analysis of the visual effects to the congressionally designated Continental Divide National Scenic Trail

VWC-EIS, Objection Issues and Responses.

November 15, 2018