On Feb. 20, 1986, the Forest Service denied a land exchange proposal to swap 420 acres at Wolf Creek Ski Area for 1,631 acres of degraded grazing lands. Just two weeks later though, the Forest Service reversed itself approving the exchange with just a promise that the development be “compatible” with the ski area. This promise later became a Scenic Easement contract between the developer, Forest Service, and ski area that banned hazardous products storage, industrial facilities, airports, and other facilities.
In 1999, Wolf Creek Ski Area proposed the Alberta lift, the bottom of which terminated on the now private land. Suspecting a real estate development scheme, Colorado Wild appealed the Forest Service approval of both the lift and a parking lot expansion that originally extended to the private land. Subsequently, the Forest Service agreed to withdraw the parking lot back from the private land, promised a comprehensive analysis, and agreed to accept public input on the developments’ impacts in an EIS.
For years Friends of Wolf Creek helped foil attempts by the developer to get a rider passed in Congress allowing an end run around the Forest Service’s agreement. After years of failed back door efforts though, the developer gave up and initiated the Forest Service EIS process in late 2003.