The following is a cut'n paste directly off the Friends of Wolf Creek website, since they are the authority on Alberta Park and the Red McCombs saga, and they are one of Alberta Park's stanchest defenders, their information is worth sharing.
I am not affiliated with them, but I sure do support them!
Friends of Wolf Creek
Needs Your Help to Stop McCombs’ Latest Attempt
to Circumvent Public Review and Involvement
November 5 , 2009
They are at it again! As you may have heard, Red McCombs has hired a new development team and is again working to push through his plans for a “Village” at Wolf Creek. Their new plan involves a new land exchange to facilitate access to their private land, and to acquire additional developable property. McCombs' team is heavily lobbying in Archuleta County and we need your help today to fight off this proposal.
McCombs remains unwilling to trust his project to any traditional process of public analysis, disclosure, and decision-making, and has therefore hired a new team of lobbyists to attempt to circumvent this review process through a legislative land exchange to gain not only access, but also additional developable property. With a number of well known and well-respected lobbyists and development firms on board, McCombs is now courting Congressman John Salazar to sponsor the legislative exchange. Fortunately, Congressman Salazar wants to hear from local communities and local elected officials about whether he should get involved in a land exchange.
What is on the Table
McCombs' new development team is trying to convince the public (and the BOCC) of why the land exchange is such a good idea, and why the legislative approach is not just more of the same backroom deal-making that we've seen all too much of before. Expect a slick presentation, and a growing list of promises to do this and that to address Archuleta County’s concerns. We need your help to challenge them on the details and stand up for the legitimate public review process that Friends of Wolf Creek has been fighting to maintain for more than a decade.
McCombs is giving the public a “choice” between an illegal 10,000 person development plan that they could never build (what they like to call the “approved plan”), and the new land exchange plan which would result in a slightly smaller development of 8,000 people. How is that for choices? In addition, McCombs’ developer is promising to listen to the concerns of the public in Archuleta County, but only if they get your support up front for a legislative land exchange. The “support me now, and I’ll listen to your concerns later” approach might fly in some parts of the country, but I hope that Archuleta County won’t buy stock in this scheme.
While the land exchange is concerning on its face (exchanging valuable developable land with highway frontage for McCombs’ wetlands and other undevelopable land) Colorado Wild is far more concerned about the process McCombs is pursuing to try to receive approval for the exchange. Rather than go though the traditional Forest Service land exchange review process – in which the public would have a chance to weigh in and the Forest Service EIS would disclose the impacts (pro and con) of the exchange before making a decision – McCombs and his new band of lobbyists is asking Congressman John Salazar to perform this land exchange legislatively.
Although McCombs is currently claiming that they will “try” to get their EIS done before the bill passes Congress, that is one promise they won't make. Nor is Congress under any obligation to consider the potentially significant impacts that we anticipate will surface through a thorough EIS process. Who do you think will have greater influence over Congress' decision, McCombs or you and I?
What You Can Do?
Congressman Salazar has yet to take a position on whether he would consider performing the land exchange through a bill in Congress. He and his staff are currently waiting to hear from local elected officials and the public about this proposal. We need your help to get the word to Salazar to say NO to any legislative land exchange. After more than 20 years of waiting, the public deserves a thorough and transparent analysis of the Village’s impacts before any decisions are made about a land exchange or other strategy to facilitate development of this land. Rather than a legislative run around, McCombs should go through the traditional Forest Service review process including a robust public involvement process. You can contact Congressman Salazar’s offices locally at:
- 813 Main Ave, Ste 300, Durango, CO 81301, 970-259-1012
- 609 Main Street, #6, Alamosa, CO 81101, 719-587-5105
Contact Your Elected Officials
McCombs and his teams are heavily lobbying your local elected officials to get their support for this project. We need your help to push back and ensure that McCombs doesn’t win the special treatment he is seeking.
The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners recently wrote a letter to Congressman Salazar expressing concerns about a legislative exchange. They need to be thanked for taking this important step, and encouraged to continue their opposition to the legislative proposal:
- John Ranson - District 1, firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-264-8304
- Clifford Lucero - District 2, email@example.com, 970-264-8303
- Robert Moomaw - District 3, firstname.lastname@example.org, 970-264-8305
Contact the Pagosa Springs Town Council today and ask them to oppose a legislative land exchange (e-mails are included here, but phone calls are also encouraged):
- Ross Aragon, Mayor, email@example.com
- Mark Weiler, District 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Don Volger, District 2, email@example.com
- Darrel Cotton, District 3, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stan Holt, Council Member at Large, email@example.com
- Shari Pierce, Council Member at Large, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jerry Jackson, Council Member at Large, email@example.com
More Details on What is Proposed
McCombs is proposing to exchange a roughly 200 acre portion if his current private land for a roughly 200 acre parcel of National Forest property which is adjacent to McCombs’ current property. McCombs is trying to trade away more than 70 acres wetlands and 100+ acres reserved for skiing in easements. In return for these undevelopable lands, McCombs is seeking property with highway frontage on US Highway 160 and that is generally free of major wetlands. Clearly, the parcels in question are of unequal value (equal value is a requirement of Forest Service land exchanges), but that has not stopped them from seeking legislative support for their proposal.
McCombs’ new front man Clint Jones and their team of lobbyists are beating the streets in Pagosa, South Fork, Del Norte and Creede, making promises and trying to build support for the land exchange. Like other attempts to circumvent public review that McCombs has attempted over the last decade, the legislative land exchange is just the latest attempt to avoid or otherwise “streamline” scrutiny of this project’s potentially significant adverse impacts.
Clint Jones is promising that they will even do an EIS after they get approval for their land exchange from Congress. But what is the point of doing an EIS if the decision has already been made? Why ask the public to weigh in if the deal is done? If McCombs was really willing to address the public’s concerns wouldn’t he want to ask for feedback up front?
Despite all the promises, we are aware of no public benefit of performing this land exchange legislatively. We need your help TODAY to help turn back McCombs’ latest attempt to fast track his development scheme.
For More Information
Contact Paul Joyce at Colorado Wild at 970-385-9833 or firstname.lastname@example.org