Don't Pillage Wolf Creek!

Don't Pillage Wolf Creek!

Friends of Wolf Creek is a coalition to defend Wolf Creek Pass from a proposed "village" of 10,000 people proposed by Red McCombs.


Wolf Creek Pass needs your help to remain the beautiful area that you and thousands of others know and love. Out-of-state developers continue to pursue plans for a "Village" at Wolf Creek, a city of 8,000-10,000 people at the top of the Pass.

This intense development plan in an otherwise undeveloped area entirely surrounded by National Forest would dramatically impact the entire region. Impacts of the proposed development threaten local businesses in nearby Archuleta and Rio Grande Counties, unspoiled backcountry recreation opportunities along the Continental Divide, water supply and water quality for downstream communities, rare and ecologically valuable fen wetlands, and one of the most critical wildlife corridors in the Southern Rocky Mountains.

Current Status

On April 19, 2017, Friends of Wolf Creek spent the day in court answering questions and clarifications Judge Matsch had about the case. Travis Stills, one of the attorneys representing Friends of Wolf Creek explained how the Environmental Impact Statement did not investigate in full the effects of the project, especially for the threatened Canada lynx, and how the US Forest Service claimed it did not have the authority to control the development, which had jumped from a 208 unit development to nearly 1,200.

Barclay Samford, an attorney for the Department of Justice, claimed that the Forest Service believed that the land exchange was considered a better option than easements it would have had to manage and maintain. "It's actually better for the public interest to use the land exchange," he said.

Judge Matsch responded: "I understand the public interest but there is also the natural environment's interest, which is what this is all about."

Now we wait for Judge Matsch's decision.

If we are successful, the lawsuit would reverse the 2015 decision by the Forest Service to approve a land exchange providing critical road access needed for the 8,000 person "village" on Wolf Creek Pass.

The brief for this case details how the Forest Service unlawfully limited the scope of the environmental analysis and used the process to benefit a private business over the good of the public. Despite the site of the proposed development being located in crucial habitat for the endangered Canada lynx, a wildlife corridor linking two major Wilderness areas, and containing rare fen wetlands, the Forest Service did not properly analyze protections or demand mitigation as part of the land transfer.

Additional information:

Article in The Durango Herald: Federal juge hears arguments in Village at Wolf Creek lawsuit

Press Release: "Final Arguments, Filings Against Massive Development at Wolf Creek in Judge's Hands"

Article in The Durango Herald: "Future of Village at Wolf Creek awaits judge's decision"

Blog post about ski area character: "Glitz and Glamour at Wolf Creek?"

Blog post about Canada lynx: "The “Village” at Wolf Creek Pass – a disaster for the Endangered Species Act listed Canada lynx"

For an in-depth, chronological history of this case, visit our Background page.

The Friends of Wolf Creek coalition petitioned U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, requesting that he immediately stop the land exchange and start an independent review of the decision making process. Click here to see the petition.

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