Upcoming Public Meetings About the Village at Wolf Creek Access Project

Please attend these important public meetings about the Village at Wolf Creek access project –

The Wolf Creek and Alberta Park – Rio Grande National Forest Land Swap DEIS Comment Period ends September 28th and the Forest Service seems poised to give Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV) 204 prime development acres (with highway access), land that belongs to all US citizens, in exchange for 178 acres of next-to-impossible-to-develop land. 

Does tearing up the San Juan River source watershed to build a speculative luxury resort at 10,300’ elevation make any sense? View photos here –

Let the Forest Service know how you feel about trading public land to allow a commercial development on top of Wolf Creek Pass

The Wolf Creek Ski area, beside Wolf Creek Pas...

The Wolf Creek Ski area, beside Wolf Creek Pass. (Highway 160.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week, the Forest Service is holding three open house meetings to allow the public to ask questions and talk to Forest Service staff about their concerns with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed Village at Wolf Creek land exchange:

  •  Tuesday, August 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Creede Community Center, Forest Service Road 503, Creede, CO.
  •  Wednesday, August 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Aragon Recreation Center, 451 Hot Springs Boulevard, Pagosa Springs, CO.
  • Thursday, August 30 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Rio Grande County Annex, 965 6th Street, Del Norte, CO.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzes the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV) land exchange, which seeks to provide access for building the “Village at Wolf Creek” project.  The Forest Service will be accepting your comments over the next 45 days.

We encourage everyone to participate and respond to this public comment process including review of the DEIS because it highlights many of the issues that the public has painstakingly brought up over the past decade.

Read the DEIS here:  http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/fs-usda-pop.php/?project=35945

Overview of the DEIS:

The proposed land exchange involves approximately 204 federal acres and 178 non-federal acres within the boundaries of the Rio Grande National Forest. Part of the federal land proposed for exchange would connect the private land to U.S. Highway 160, thus precluding the need for securing access across the national forest.

There are three alternatives considered:

–The NO ACTION alternative,

–the land exchange briefly described below, and

–The Forest Service building an (Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act)     ANILCA-compliant road over their own property to provide legal access to the inholding.

The Forest Service believes it is not responsible for and cannot directly analyze development on private property, but they do acknowledge that the point of the proposed land exchange is to facilitate some level of residential/commercial development on private land.  Therefore, in order to be able to analyze the indirect impacts, the Forest Service considers three versions of possible development of the so-called “Village at Wolf Creek.”

The range of environmental and social/economic impacts analyzed in the DEIS gives a picture of how broad and far-reaching the effects of a 10,000 or even a 5,000 person city on top of a 10,000 foot mountain pass would be.  The DEIS finds measurable impacts from the Village on

  • endangered lynx and other wildlife
  • wetlands
  • water quality and loss of soil
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • long-term population trends in the surrounding region
  • public safety and emergency services
  • local schools

The DEIS provides detailed maps of possible development scenarios for the Village at Wolf Creek that would include hotels, condos, and retail stores.

Unfortunately, the Forest Service dismisses many other possible alternatives such as the federal government buying the private land parcel and placing it back into public lands.

Talking Points

  • a large commercial development on top of Wolf Creek Pass is still a bad idea that doesn’t fit with the character of the local area, even if the Forest Service is required to analyze it
  • The Forest Service is right to acknowledge that construction of a big commercial development with hotels, condos, and parking garages is the point of the land exchange to begin with
  • The effects on a critical wildlife corridor—which provides essential linkage for endangered lynx as well as mule deer, elk, and other wildlife—could be serious
  • Wolf Creek Pass is too important environmentally to be sacrificed to the ambitions of one absentee landowner, whose plan is out of step with the surrounding communities

Your voice is essential!

The Forest Service and elected officials will read a lot into the number of people who show up for the open house meetings and the kinds of questions they are asking about environmental impacts and whether a land exchange like this is in the public interest.  So please do 1) show up for one of the open house meetings if you can, and 2) send a written comment to the Forest Service by

Public Comments are to be emailed tocomments-rocky-mountain-rio-grande@fs.fed.us.

Please include “Village at Wolf Creek Access Project DEIS” in the subject line of the e-mail.

Hardcopy comments should be addressed to:

Village at Wolf Creek Access Project
c/o Tom Malecek, Divide District Ranger
Rio Grande National Forest
13308 West Highway 160
Del Norte, CO  81132

For much more information visit these folks on the front line of this long and hard-fought battle:

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Peter Miesler - September 13, 2012

For an examination of the many flaws and omission in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement please visit:

NO-VillageAtWolfCreek.blogspot.com

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