What People are Saying…

Below you will find a sample of the sentiments of people across the region regarding the proposed Village at Wolf Creek. While the arguments made are slightly different, the bottom line message is the same: The proposed Village at Wolf Creek is wrong place for a residential and commercial development, regardless of the size.

If you’d like to see your words on this page, please email us. As we have been inundated with incredible and heartfelt words we cannot promise you’ll see your words here, but we will try.

    • Many studies have shown that people who ascend to high altitudes rapidly are at extremely increased risk of developing high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) – both of which can be fatal. This even includes people who start at a moderately high altitude like Denver. People sleeping at altitudes above 10,000 feet are at the greatest risk for these and all altitude related problems. The only real treatment for HAPE and HACE is a speedy descent to lower elevation. From the ski area at Wolf Creek the closest medical treatment is 30 minutes away, barring blizzards and icy roads. Housing 10,000 tourists at over 10,000 feet in elevation is asking for trouble. .

— Joel Kaufman, MD, Alamosa

 

    • Wolf Creek Pass is among the most important wildlife connections in the Rocky Mountains — a vital link in a proposed habitat conservation and quiet recreation corridor along the Spine of the Continent. Wolf Creek Pass is critical to conservation and restoration of the Lynx, Wolf, Wolverine, and other wide-ranging species. Though I was not able to hike through Wolf Creek Pass during TrekWest (the Western Wildway Network’s 5000 mile exploration of the Western Wildway) due to a nearby wildfire, we heard along the way from many scientists and conservation leaders of the importance of fully protecting Wolf Creek Pass from development and exploitation. As a wildlands explorer and wildlife advocate, I urge all who care about the Rocky Mountains to tell the Forest Service and other decision-making bodies to fully protect Wolf Creek Pass, for wild and human wanderers. .

— John Davis, Wildlands Network; author Big, Wild, and Connected; trekker in upcoming film Born to Rewild

 

    • The Forest Service was somehow obligated to grant access to the Wolf Creek private inholding? Hogwash. Absent reserving an explicit access right when the real estate transaction occurred, there is no right of access. Period. Caveat emptor controls: let the buyer beware. If Red McCombs has second thoughts over the 1986 exchange, he should take it up with his advisers who negotiated and signed the deal. He’s got access, but now he wishes he got more in the first place. He didn’t. That ship sailed. Where Red wouldn’t get any relief in a court of law, the Forest Service has no business turning our national environmental charter inside-out and upside-down for out-of-state speculators. NEPA is the National Environmental Protection Act, not a welfare program for rich guys with regrets. Building a village for flatlanders in a wetlands at 10,000 feet is a recipe for disaster. Why drag it out? Just say no, now. .

— Mike Chirpolos, Chiropolos Law LLC, Boulder

 

    • Construction of a large commercial development with hotels, condos, and infrastructure poses detrimental consequences for the critical wildlife corridor for deer, elk, endangered lynx and diverse wildlife, for nearby wetlands, and for water and air quality in the Wolf Creek watershed. The Wolf Creek Pass area’s natural havens are too important environmentally to be sacrificed to the ambitions of one absentee landowner pursuing personal gain.

— Nancy and Dave Neal, Del Norte

 

    • “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone…” Joni Mitchell’s iconic song, “Yellow Taxi,” presaged the “value of space” concept……the Village would so profoundly disrupt and destroy the existing recreation and tourism environment as to negatively impact the lives of tens of thousands of people–a specific segment of our population who currently use and enjoy Wolf Creek Ski area as well as those whose economic livelihoods depend on maintaining the area in its existing condition.

— Richard Ormsby, Creede

 

    • The original Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV) land exchange which gave the Wolf Creek parcel to LMJV, back when we were all tiny children, was deeply questionable. Forest Service staff decided that the swap was not in the public interest. A few days later the staff’s decision was overruled from Washington, presumably by appointed officials. Certainly, it was not a decision of anyone familiar with the local situation. This proposed land exchange would in effect ratify that early questionable decision and deodorize it. It was not in the public interest in the eighties; it is not in the public interest now..

— Jim Milstein, Pagosa Springs

 

    • A “Village” will likely harm the economies of the local communities of South Fork and Pagosa Springs by drawing tourists (and their tourist dollars) away from the towns and by providing guest services in the planned commercial development as part of the “Village” concept. After all, who is going to drive 46 miles round trip up and down a treacherous and snowy mountain pass to grab dinner in the closest town (23 miles to South Fork) when the burger joint at the top of the pass will be far more convenient?

— Don Thompson, Alamosa

 

    • I have explored and photographed almost all of the wilderness north and south of Wolf Creek Pass. The connectivity of the South San Juan and Weminuche Wildernesses creates one of Colorado’s most important ecosystems. It is already victim to the traffic of the Highway 160 corridor and the massive beetle kill of its magnificent old growth forests. The construction of the Village at Wolf Creek may very well send it into a death spiral.

— John Fielder, Nature Photographer, Summit County

 

    • By nature and by design, Wolf Creek is not Summit County, Crested Butte, or Vail, overrun by condos. Its uniquely wild setting can only be diminished by development, especially on the scale of the ‘Village’. McCombs vision is a nightmare for local communities, wildlife, and skiers alike.

— Aron Ralston, Adventurer and Author, Boulder

 

    • The Village at Wolf Creek is so very HEART BREAKING and DISGUSTING to me. I was born and raised in Archuleta County, which includes Wolf Creek. I have raised my children here. My grandchildren and great grandchildren are being raised here. IT’S OUR HOME! It’s the home of so many, many animals of this pristine area, and when we get to see them we get such a deep sense of joy from that special privilege. People living here love it, and people visiting the area love it. I am a rancher and I have had a forest permit and grazed this sect of public land with my cattle for years. I have loved it, respected it and cared for it as the property of all Americans, but first and foremost the home of the wildlife that lives here. There is no need for this land to be developed. Once it is torn up and developed it will never be able to provide the benefits it is serving now.

— Betty Shahan, Shahan Ranch, Chromo

 

More of What People Are Saying...

    • WE WILL DOWNSIZE THE DEVELOPMENT IF WE GET THE EXCHANGE. Nobody seems to remember that when the original land swap was done, the proposal was for around 220 condos. It would be a low impact, manageable project. That is why there was very little objection to making the deal. Even though the local USFS people recommended "no action" on the trade, it soon was mysteriously approved by someone higher up the ladder. It is strange that no one seems to remember who that was, and no one has taken responsibility for it. The plan kind of went into dormancy while the developer did the Rio Cucharra debacle, but then was reintroduced--this time with 2000 condos, hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls. It was estimated to be nearly the size of Alamosa at full build-out. Totally out of the realm of sustainability. So now LMJV is saying that they will reduce the size to around 1500 condos if they get the exchange. Now it would be a little bit smaller, but still off the charts as far as reducing negative impacts to surrounding towns and environment. This downsize is really a meaningless non-issue.

--- Greg Gosar, Gosar Ranch Natural Foods, Del Norte

    • I don’t begrudge an entrepreneur trying to make a living, but given the consistent public outcry over the last 30 years against this type of development in a fragile and ecologically imperative area, you think Red McCombs might consider building elsewhere. Many suggest that a development atop Wolf Creek is unwise and will not succeed for a host of reasons: too high an elevation; too much snow; too far from a major airport or other urban services; too much inventory in an already flooded real estate market in the area; etc. Unfortunately, if McCombs gets his way, by the time we figure out it’s a bad plan, the damage will be done—even a vacant village will impact wildlife, environment, wetlands, riparian areas, backcountry recreation opportunities, and so on.

--- Chris Rapp, Durango