Thursday, November 20, 2014

VWC Access Project "Final Environmental Impact Statement" index

"The publication of the draft record of decision in the 
Valley Courier starts a 45-day objection period. 
The final decision will be signed if no objections are received.RGNF

{By my math that makes it Sunday January 4th - excellent timing for the release I must say}
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Text of Draft index; and introduction; and background. 
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Record of Decision
Village at Wolf Creek Access Project Final Environmental Impact Statement
USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Rio Grande National Forest Divide Ranger District Mineral County, Colorado

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1.0 Introduction ...................... 1 2.0 
Background and Location....... 1 3.0 
Purpose and Need................... 2
4.0 Decision............................ 2 4.1 
The Decision........................... 2 4.2 
Selected Alternative................ 2

4.2.1 Non-Federal Lands to be Conveyed to the United States.. 3 4.2.2 
Federal Land to be Conveyed to the Non-Federal Party .............. 3 4.2.3 
Best Management Practices......................................................... 3 4.2.4 
Encumbrances........................................................................…… 4 4.2.5 Monitoring................................................................................... 4 4.2.6 
Lynx Conservation Measures .................................................... 5 4.2.7 
Permits, Licenses, Entitlements and/or Consultation ...............…… 6

5.0 Decision Rationale .........................................................……. 6
6.0 Public Involvement............................................................. 26

7.0 Alternatives Considered ...29 
7.1 Alternatives Considered 
but Eliminated from Detailed Study ...29 7.2 
Alternative 1 - No Action ... 30 7.3 
Alternative 2 - Land Exchange (Proposed Action) ... 30 7.4 
Alternative 3 – ANILCA Road Access  30

8.0 Environmentally Preferable Alternative.... 31 9.0 
Findings Required by Other Laws, Regulations and Agency Policy .... 31 10.0 
Pre-Decisional Administrative Objection Process ... 31 11.0 
Contact Person ... 32 12.0 
Signature and Date ... 32

VillageWolfCreek Breaking News - RGNF Favors Developing Alberta Park, Wolf Creek!

"The publication of the draft record of decision in the 
Valley Courier starts a 45-day objection period. 
The final decision will be signed if no objections are received.RGNF

{By my math that makes it Sunday January 4th - excellent timing for the release I must say}
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Apparently the developers still believe we are living in the 1980s.

{I've added the highlights}

November 20, 2014

Draft decision released for Village at Wolf Creek Access Project

MONTE VISTA, Colo. – The Rio Grande National Forest has completed the Village at Wolf Creek Access Project analysis and draft record of decision. Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas selected Alternative 2, the proposed land exchange between the United States and Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV). The land exchange will provide the opportunity for LMJV to develop year-round access to their property.
“After a thorough review of the final environmental impact statement and public comments, I have decided to approve Alternative 2, the land exchange,” said Dallas. “I believe this is the best decision for the land and the public while providing the access to which the proponent is legally entitled.”

Alternative 2 conveys approximately 177 acres of privately held land to the Rio Grande National Forest in exchange for approximately 205 acres of National Forest System land managed by the RGNF.  The land exchange would create a private land parcel of approximately 325 acres extending to U.S. Highway 160 and will accommodate year-round vehicular access.

The existing Tranquility Road would be extended east across NFS land to the private land. This road would provide restricted seasonal access between Wolf Creek Ski Area and the private land.

The primary benefits of the land exchange proposal over the previous right-of-way proposal include relocation of most of the proposed private land development to an area farther away from the ski area and Forest Service acquisition of wetlands and a perennial stream.
{I wonder how RGNF finesses the fact the Red McCombs knew dang well that land was landlocked before his purchase! - Or does the RGNF ignore that detail - we shall see?}

LMJV previously sought a right-of-way access across RGNF from U.S. Highway 160 to their private land.  Since their private land is surrounded by National Forest System land, LMJV is entitled by federal statute to have granted to them by the Forest Service a right-of-way for access commensurate with the reasonable use and enjoyment of their property. 

The publication of the draft record of decision in the Valley Courier starts a 45-day objection period. The final decision will be signed if no objections are received. A 45-day resolution period ensues if objections are submitted by individuals who previously provided comments. The resolution period may be extended an additional 30 days for a total of 75 days. The final decision is signed following this resolution period.

For more information about the proposed Village at Wolf Creek Access Project, visit the Rio Grande National Forest website at


Public Affairs Specialist
Rio Grande National Forest

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hello Ukraine

Dear Ukrainian visitors and other Old World visitors to this website,

My name is Peter and this NVAWC website is my own venture, a hobby you could say.

This "information kiosk" is unaffiliated with anyone else, it's simple, just me sharing important information and some of my thoughts because I want to do my part in helping stop a thoughtless rich family from inflicting irreparable destruction to the heart of a thriving biologically productive complex watershed area called Alberta Park located up against the USA's Continental Divide, near Wolf Creek Pass, location of legendary Highway 160* that tops off at 3,310 meters.  Alberta Park is part of the source waters for the interstate/international Rio Grande River making it specially important and worth protecting.

OK, so that's what I'm doing here.  

Now, please allow me to ask you folks, what are you doing here?

I ask this because I've been watching my numbers with increasing fascination and curiosity about why people from across the globe would be interested in this local issue.  I've tried finding "Wolf Creeks" in Ukraine, Russia and other places to check that sort of link but haven't had any luck.  Is it just a curiosity about America?  Or what?  Here's what I'm talking about:

most recent week - Oct 1, 2014 6:00 PM – Oct 8, 2014 5:00 PM

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rocky Mountian Forests at Risk

I came across this report that seems worth passing along.  Something to think about while we wait for the Rio Grande National Forest to come out with their overdue Environmental Assessment of the Red McComb's Alberta Park land swap proposal.

This seems a fitting reminder that we are living in the 2010s and our natural and business world is rapidly changing before our eyes - beware of 1980s speculative pipe dreams - their time has passed into yesteryear.  The future needs as much of the Rio Grande River watershed and riparian system protected as possible.  

Red McComb's plan only promises destruction of that all important high mountain watershed and biologically productive wetlands with unavoidable damaging consequences to all down stream users of the interstate, international Rio Grande River.

Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk

Confronting Climate-driven Impacts from Insects, Wildfires, Heat, and Drought

Americans revere the Rocky Mountains for their aesthetic, environmental, and economic value. The Rockies are home to some of the crown jewels of the national park system, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks.

These parks alone receive 11 million visitors each year and generate more than $1 billion annually in visitor spending. Another 60 million people visit the region’s 37 national forests each year.

Today, however, the forests of the Rocky Mountains are facing a triple assault: tree-killing insects, wildfires, and heat and drought. If allowed to continue unchecked, these stresses and their impacts could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them.

Human-caused global warming is driving these detri- mental effects by bringing hotter and drier conditions, which not only cause their own effects but amplify those of other stresses. An exceptionally hot and dry stretch from 1999 to 2003 produced unusually severe impacts on the region’s forests. If these trends continue, even hotter and drier con- ditions could become commonplace, leading to even greater effects on Rocky Mountain forests.

This report documents the latest evidence on how climate change is already disrupting the forests of the Rocky Mountain region and what scientists project for the decades ahead, and suggests how we can best meet these challenges. 

Lead authors
Jason Funk Stephen Saunders
Todd Sanford Tom Easley Adam Markham
September 2014 

[ contents ]
  1. iv  Figures, Tables, and Boxes
  2. v  Acknowledgments
1 Executive Summary   
Chapter 1
5 A Cherished Landscape at Risk    
Chapter 2
9 Increases in Tree-Killing Insects   
Chapter 3
13 Increases in Wildfires 
Chapter 4
19 Impacts of Heat and Dryness on Forests 
Chapter 5
24 Effects on Iconic Tree Species of the Rocky Mountains 
Chapter 6
38 Present and Future Climate Change in the Rocky Mountains 
Chapter 7
44 What We Can Do 

47 References

Monday, July 28, 2014

Paul Bauer, "The Rio Grande - A Guide To The River's Geology"

A little something about the Rio Grande River,
with appreciation to

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Paul Bauer, "The Rio Grande - A Guide To The River's Geology" (2/10/2013)

Published on Feb 10, 2013 by OccupyNewMexico

Presented at Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe, NM 
as part of the Journey Santa Fe weekly lecture series --

Paul Bauer is a principal geologist and associate director at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources at New Mexico Tech. He received a Ph.D. in geology from New Mexico Tech in 1988. He served as manager of the state's Geologic Mapping Program for 12 years, and was coordinator for the New Mexico Decision-Makers Field Conferences for 10 years, a program designed to bridge the gap between earth scientists and policy makers in New Mexico.

Since his first Taos Box rafting trip in 1980, he has spent much of the last 30 years investigating the geology and hydrogeology of north-central New Mexico. He has led many field trips to the area, including educational whitewater rafting tours. His current research is focused on using geologic field studies to describe the evolution of the mountains and basins of northern New Mexico, and the hydrogeologic conditions of the Upper Rio Grande region.

He has co-authored a series of geologic quadrangle maps of Taos County, has written a wide variety of books and articles on the geology of the region, and in 2007 completed a study of the springs of the Rio Grande gorge.

In 2011, he combined an enthusiasm for whitewater adventures with an interest in earth science education by publishing the award-winning book The Rio Grande: A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico. 

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Climate Change and the Forests of the West (Keeling Lecture)

The Keeling Lecture
Climate Change and the Forests of the West   
UCTV - Perspectives on Ocean Science

Uploaded on Jun 10, 2010
Dr. Steve Running, a Regents Professor in the College of Forestry and Conservation at the University of Montana, discusses the paradox of why forests in the West are growing faster while simultaneously suffering from higher die-off rates. 

Running was the IPCC lead author on a 2007 WG1 report analyzing North America's contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide and its impacts on the global climate. 
Series: "Perspectives on Ocean Science" [6/2010] [Science] [Show ID: 18197]

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introduction to the "Keeling Curve" and CO2 observations…
and how that ties into understanding global growth patterns

11:40  Image of our thin atmosphere against the Earth's horizon

28:30  Great satellite view of ten years worth of the whole Earth's seasons unfurling.
32:20  two week longer growing season in Northern US
33:50  April snow pack (snow water equivalent) 1950 - 2000
34:30  Tim Barnett, et al. 2008 paper, Western States spring snowpack 1950 - 2006
(Montana March temps are up 7°F )
38:00  Wild fire - Westerling, et al. 2006 - fire season 78 days longer - increased fires above 6500ft
43:00  Bark Beetles and warming winters
45:30  Montana absolute low temps have warmed 15°F in past 15 years!
48:40  Raffa, et al. - bark beetle study
49:00  Van Mantgem, et al 2009 - Background mortality rates Western forests
51:00  Stability of natural carbon sinks?
… Carbon Monitoring
53:30  Planetary Boundaries

55:00   A thank you to David Keeling.

Blast from the past: The Village at Wolf Creek, It’s A Scandal

I stumbled acrose this today and reread it and feel OK about what I was trying to get across.  Parts of it are dated so I won't drag it up to the top of the pile, but I will link to it.  And yes, the original swap did turn out to be plenty up and up... still McComb's changing his intentions and sneaking in that Village monstrosity, none of that was right - and soured the entire deal. 
And this thing should have been settled long ago in favor of Alberta Park being left alone to continue functioning as the invaluable productive biological national resource that it is. 
Leave it as it is!  A productive habitat, wetlands, fens, storage and filter to source waters of the international Rio Grande River.  
Why not McCombs enterprises?

March 21, 2012

The Village at Wolf Creek, It’s A Scandal