1986 – Original Land Exchange

  • Forest Service Environmental Assessment anticipated 200 residential units
  • Deemed “Not in the Public Interest”, denied Feb. 20, 1986
  • The opposite decision issued March 6, 1986
  • Scenic Easement attached to the property as a condition of exchange

1999 – Wolf Creek Ski Area Alberta Lift and Parking Lot Approval

  • Lift and parking lot approved by Forest Service in 1999
  • Decision subject to administrative appeal by Colorado Wild summer 1999
  • Appeal settlement agreement: EIS required prior to “commercial” access

2000 – Mineral County Preliminary Approval

  • 2,172 units, 222k sq.ft. commercial, 4267 parking spaces, 12 restaurants, hotels, etc.
  • Massive project proposal raises serious concerns: water quality, water quantity, wetlands, traffic, wildlife, economic impacts to existing businesses, employee housing, emergency services, fiscal impacts to Rio Grande and Archuleta County governments, etc.

2001 & 2002 – Attempts to Circumvent Public Review Requirements to Obtain Access

  • Lobbied to have Mark Rey appointed to head US Forest Service.
  • Riders to unrelated legislation introduced by Congressman Tom Delay to grant access to Village without public review or scrutiny of project’s impacts.

2004 – Mineral County Final Approval

  • Documents show McCombs was writing Mineral County Land Use Code
  • Oct 2005 – State District Judge Kuenhold throws out Mineral County’s development approval.
  • Sept 2006 – State Court of Appeals affirms Kuenhold, Village Plan illegal for lack of access.

2004 – 2006 – McCombs Undertakes Illegal EIS Process

  • 90%+ of 3,000 Public Comments Opposed to Village Access
  • Sept 2005 – Documents show developer/Forest Service collusion, including developer authoring Forest Service access policies
  • March 2006 – Colorado Wild uncovers developer’s influence over Forest Service EIS contractor
  • April 2006 – Forest Service Grants Access based on “Bogus” EIS
  • September 2006 – Colorado Wild sues Forest Service over faulty EIS
  • February 2008 – Colorado Wild, Forest Service, McCombs settle the lawsuit and agree to conduct new and complete EIS before granting access.

2008 – New Easements on McCombs Property Undermine 2000/2004 Land Use Approval

  • Easements apparently stem for Wolf Creek Ski Area/McCombs lawsuit settlement
  • Forest Service begins and then stops the new EIS process based on the original plan.

2009 – McCombs hires democratic lobbyist Michael Dino, Clint Jones to pursue legislative land exchange.

2010—Representative Salazar encourages Mr. McCombs to undertake a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) through the U.S. Forest Service.

  • McCombs takes the advice of Congressman Salazar and applies for a land exchange from the Rio Grande National Forest through the Forest Service administrative review process.

2012—US Forest Service releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) analyzing the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV) land exchange, which seeks to provide access for building the “Village at Wolf Creek” project.

  • Public comments accepted on the DEIS through October 16.

2014 – US Forest Service releases Final Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Record of Decision approving the land exchange that will give LMJV direct access to US Highway 160.

2015 – Friends of Wolf Creek responds to the Draft Record of Decision with a 96-page Objection.

  • March 2015 – US Forest Service responds to Objections, and asks Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas to clarify issues regarding Lynx protections.
  • May 2015 – Forest Service issues final Record of Decision approving the land exchange.
  • June 2015 – Friends of Wolf Creek filed a lawsuit to stop the land exchange that paves the way for the construction of the village.

2017 – Judge Matsch Rules in Favor of Friends of Wolf Creek

  • May 2017 – Judge Richard P. Matsch issued an Order in the 2015 case against the Forest Service, nullifying the land exchange that would have provided needed road access for the development to be built.
  • June 2017 -The Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture filed a Motion to Reconsider asking Judge Matsch to reconsider his decision.
  • September 2017 – Judge Matsch denied this Motion.
  • October 2017 – The Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture filed an appeal to Judge Matsch’s decision.

2018 – 2019 – Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture appeals but the US Forest Service does not. Separately, LMJV sends a letter to the Forest Service demanding immediate access to their inholding.

  • April 2018 – The Department of Justice (DOJ) requested a 30-day extension to file its opening appellate brief. We did not oppose and the Court approved.
  • May 2018 – The Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture filed its opening brief on the May 9 deadline, but the US Forest Service did not.
  • June 2018 – Friends of Wolf Creek learn of a January 2018 letter from Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture demanding the Forest Service ignore recent court decisions and instead improve road construction to begin the proposed real estate development. Friends of Wolf Creek start a petition.
  • July 2018 – The Forest Service announces its intention to circumvent a federal court ruling that invalidated prior approvals for the Village Wolf Creek. They also limit objections to those who “previously submitted specific written comments regarding the proposed project during scoping or comments on the draft EIS” in 2012.
  • October 2018 – Supporters who did not have official standing began to receive rejections to their objections. However, so did people with standing.
  • November 2018 – The Forest Service rejected all objections to the Village at Wolf Creek Road Access Project.
  • December 2018 – Federal Appeals Court dismissed Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture’s appeal, based on a lack of appellate jurisdiction.
  • February 2019 – Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas signed a Final Record of Decision that could result in an easement to facilitate construction of the massive “Village.”

2021 – A Judge ends the “Village Wolf Creek” 2015 land exchange

2019 – current – Friends of Wolf Creek fight the demand for immediate access to the inholding.

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