Village at Wolf Creek: Land exchange receives tentative approval

By Mike Blakeman

The Rio Grande National Forest has completed the Village at Wolf Creek Access Project analysis and draft record of decision.

Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas selected Alternative 2, the proposed land exchange between the United States and Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV). The land exchange will provide the opportunity for LMJV to develop year-round access to their property.

“After a thorough review of the final environmental impact statement and public comments, I have decided to approve Alternative 2, the land exchange,” said Dallas. “I believe this is the best decision for the land and the public while providing the access to which the proponent is legally entitled.”

Alternative 2 conveys approximately 177 acres of privately held land to the Rio Grande National Forest in exchange for approximately 205 acres of National Forest System land managed by the RGNF.

The land exchange would create a private land parcel of approximately 325 acres extending to U.S. 160 and will accommodate year-round vehicular access.

The existing Tranquility Road would be extended east across NFS land to the private land. This road would provide restricted seasonal access between Wolf Creek Ski Area and the private land.

The primary benefits of the land exchange proposal over the previous right of way proposal include relocation of most of the proposed private land development to an area farther away from the ski area and Forest Service acquisition of wetlands and a perennial stream.

LMJV previously sought a right of way access across RGNF from U.S. 160 to their private land.  Since their private land is surrounded by National Forest System land, LMJV is entitled by federal statute to have granted to them by the Forest Service a right of way for access commensurate with the reasonable use and enjoyment of their property.

The publication of the draft record of decision in the Valley Courier starts a 45-day objection period. The final decision will be signed if no objections are received. A 45-day resolution period ensues if objections are submitted by individuals who previously provided comments. The resolution period may be extended an additional 30 days for a total of 75 days. The final decision is signed following this resolution period.

For more information about the proposed Village at Wolf Creek Access Project, visit the RGNF website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande.

This story was posted on November 20, 2014.

5 Responses to Village at Wolf Creek: Land exchange receives tentative approval

  1. Kim

    November 20, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    What a completely disgraceful decision. I hope the community will band together to prevent this greedy billionaire from destroying one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

  2. TEB

    November 20, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    Wow I lived in Pagosa 10 years and really had hoped they had finally killed this thing before I left but here it is again and approved. I wonder who got paid off this time? uggg This will just ruin Wolf Creek Pass forever. I am so glad I spent years roaming the back woods taking pictures as those once pristine places will now be overrun by spoiled trust fund kids.

  3. ajpagosa

    November 22, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Hopefully reasonable folks in Mineral County will realize how stupid this is and kill it at the local level. Set aside all the other issues, a small remote high-end resort inside vast beetle kill area, 20-30 miles from any amenities or emergency facilities in one of the highest snowfall areas in the lower 48 sounds like a recipe for disaster.

    People who would stay or buy there expect a lot more comfort nowadays than what could conceivably be put nearby. What, they’re going to drive to South Fork or 30 miles the other way down the pass to PS to get some designer coffee, buy groceries/gas, or have dinner? I don’t think so.

  4. ajpagosa

    November 22, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I would also add, my present understanding is the land swap deal has very little to do with whether the resort gets built or not. By itself the land swap is not a bad idea. Many folks don’t realize the present land owned by the McCombs is right under/beside the Alberta lift and the Cross Country meadow area. Makes sense to get them out of there (and out of being surrounded by NF land) and give them something next to the highway in exchange.

    So the “good” news here is the developer would be out of Wolf Creek perimeter, or main area at least, and adjacent to the highway without needing access into the NF proper.

    Building on the new plot is another issue entirely, and as I understand subject to zoning and approval from Mineral county.

    It would be nice of the McCombs to concede the resort is bad idea and donate the land to the NFS.

  5. Louis Friend

    November 24, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I have changed my mind on this project. Ten years ago, it seemed like a bad idea. But, given the lack of development in this area, I now say go ahead and build it, but do it right. Plus, it will give folks here something to do other than watch the things stagnate in the town and county.