In 1986, Leavell Properties, Inc (later joined by Texas billionaire B.J. “Red” McCombs to form the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, or LMJV) swapped land with the United States Forest Service to obtain a property on top of Wolf Creek Pass, surrounded by Forest Service land. The 300 acre parcel was originally proposed as a modest development of 200 units and accompanying infrastructure.
Over time, McCombs, who now spearheads the project, expanded the original plan to create a new “Village at Wolf Creek” – a development of over 1,700 units including hotels, restaurants, boutique shops, condos and townhomes. At full buildout the “village” would house upto 10,000 residents, more that the population of either Vail or Aspen.
McCombs has spent more than 35 years attempting to circumvent legitimate public review of his proposed “Village” and to gain year-round highway access to the isolated property. His efforts have included attaching riders to unrelated legislation, lobbying for federal staff appointments favorable to his plans, and even writing local land use codes that would guide the development.
Since the beginning, the Friends of Wolf Creek – a coalition of environmental organizations from around the state – have fought to ensure the “Village” is never realized. The group has been able to keep construction at bay, force the Forest Service to properly complete Environmental Impact Statements (EISs), and to make their documents regarding the exchange and environmental studies public.
For a full history of this ongoing battle, check out our history outline here.
Friends of Wolf Creek partner, San Juan Citizens Alliance created a video that explains the fight against the “village” at Wolf Creek:
The Administrative Record
The administrative record is the paper trail that documents an agency’s decision-making process and the basis for the agency’s decision. Here is a link to the administrative record provided by the Forest Service on their decision to approve the land exchange with Red McCombs.
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Cover image by: Alex Pullen