Monday, October 17, 2011

Alberta Park's Rio Grande Nat'l Forest Service....... 'open house hike' September 20, 2011

revised 2/26/12 to reflect final draft

Printed in the Four Corners Free Press 
November 2011 issue
page 28

"Moving The Village"

It appears Billy Joe “Red” McCombs’ longtime dream of constructing a luxury resort town in the middle of Alberta Park (elevation: 10,300 feet), nestled against the Continental Divide on Wolf Creek Pass Colorado and coincidentally home to some forty feet of annual snowfall, burns hot as ever.

After having over a decade's worth of development preparations thwarted McCombs dumped Bob Honts, his developer, regrouped his Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture and has hired a new developer, Clint Jones, to spearhead a new plan of attack.

Exhibit Six: Plans to build VWC may get underway after wetlands exhange ~ Jason Blevins, 9/25/11

As the saga of Alberta Park enters a new phase I believe it's a good time to review some past articles written in Colorado newspapers regarding Mr. McCombs’ acquisition and development pipedream.
And one fresh article:

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Long-contentious plans to build village near Wolf Creek Ski Area may get underway after wetlands exchange"
By Jason Blevins ~ The Denver Post, business ~ 09/25/2011

Unauthorized notes:
~ ~ ~


"There's no doubt this stirs passions," said (Rio Grande Nat'l Forest District Ranger) Malecek, standing next to a remote pond that could be a centerpiece for a 1,711-unit to 1,980-unit village. "But I think it's nice to get out and have these kinds of discussions."
"The proposed land exchange would deliver that access by swapping 204 acres of federal land for 178 acres of McCombs' land. The swap would give the federal government a swath of crucial wetlands and pull the village away from the ski area boundary and provide access to U.S. 160. The exchange is undergoing an environmental impact statement review by the Forest Service, which expects a draft of the statement early next year."
"Clint Jones, the Texas real estate attorney and longtime Wolf Creek skier in charge of the village project, said the land exchange came after years of often fiery discussions with locals, environmentalists, federal officials and the ski-area owners, the Pitcher clan. Jones said the exchange mitigates "issues that were so very volatile" in previous proposals for development."

""We can still build a village on the land we own, but we think we can build a better village back here in the trees," said Jones, whose proposed land exchange moves development from a sweeping meadow — Alberta Park — into dense timber farther east of the Wolf Creek Ski Area."
But modest plans quickly blossomed into a commercial-residential city with nearly 2,200 units and at least 160,000 square feet of commercial space, a high-density proposal that has long galvanized vehement opposition. . . "
"The latest village proposal is a blending of previous plans. If the land swap is approved, McCombs is proposing about 1,700 units. If not, the number could climb closer to 2,000. The plan calls for phased construction, with development occurring only after strong demand for earlier units.

"Once this gets through approval, it could be much smaller," Jones said. "The market will determine if we go past the first phase.""

by Jason Blevins
{link to the entire article}

Exhibit Five: McCombs' development of Cuchara ski area at La Veta, Colorado

this page is still under construction

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Exhibit Four: Pagosa Daily Post offers an excellent review: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Village at Wolf Creek

I won't be sharing any quotes from the following series of articles that appeared in the Pagosa Daily Post in October two years back. But, it is another source for understanding the background and history to the continuing saga of VWC High Altitude Development Fever. Written by Bill Hudson editor of the Pagosa Daily Post:

EDITORIAL: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Village at Wolf Creek, Part One
Bill Hudson ~ 10/23/09 ~ Pagosa Daily Post

EDITORIAL: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Village at Wolf Creek, Part Two
Bill Hudson ~ 10/26/09 ~ Pagosa Daily Post

EDITORIAL: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Village at Wolf Creek, Part Three
Bill Hudson ~ 10/27/09 ~ Pagosa Daily Post

EDITORIAL: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down on Village at Wolf Creek, Part Four
Bill Hudson ~ 10/28/09 ~ Pagosa Daily Post~

Also A Change Is Gonna Come
Article by Sheila K. Goodman
Wolf Creek – May 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine -

I won't be sharing any quotes from this article either, yet Sheila Goodman does an excellent job reporting on the personal story behind Billy Joe “Red” McCombs and former partner Bob Honts long struggle to urbanize a Continental Divide meadow at 10,300 elevation.

Exhibit Three: The VWC: Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology ~ Larry Calloway

The following is an unauthorized condensation,
actually just selective quoting from Larry Calloway's December 2006 article: "The Village At Wolf Creek: Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology" in The Rockies
I recommend the entire article:

The Village At Wolf Creek: Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology
About that snow removal complexity. . .

Larry Calloway ~ December 13, 2006 ~ The Rockies
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

¶ one:
“What falls on Wolf Creek Ski Area falls on Alberta Park. The Texans who dreamed up The Village at Wolf Creek don’t seem to understand that. Their urban-density land development at 10,300 feet elevation will get 40 to 50 feet of snow a year. The Forest Service environmental impact statement acknowledges “snow removal complexity” as one of the access problems. {...}”

Exhibit Two: The Wolf Creek Wars ~ by Marcia Darnell ~ April/May 2007

Here is some more history. I recommend this 3500 word article for it’s pre-May 2007 chronology of Mr. McCombs’ development dreams and tactics. . .
I also found it an interesting case study in Developer Hubris reading VWC’s ex-developer Bob Honts’ prognostications . . .

The following are unauthorized quotes from:
Village or Pillage?
The Wolf Creek Wars ~ Marcia Darnell ~ Inside Outside Magazine
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

As it goes in Colorado, the battleground of this civil war is located in the courts. Since there is no legal way to prevent the development on private property, opponents have aimed an avalanche of legal documents at the U.S. Forest Service, which decides access to the property, and Mineral County, which approved the development.

Exhibit One: Weirdness in Spades at Wolf Creek ~ by Allen Best ~ May 2007

As the saga of Alberta Park enters a new phase I believe it's a good time to review some past articles written in Colorado newspapers regarding Mr. McCombs’ acquisition and development pipedream.

The following is an unauthorized condensation,
actually just selective quoting from Allen Best's May 2007 article: "Weirdness in Spades at Wolf Creek" in the Colorado Central Magazine.
I recommend the entire article here.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Weirdness in Spades at Wolf Creek
Article by Allen Best
Wolf Creek Development – May 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Paragraph one:

¶ two:
“... In mountainous Colorado, one good rule of thumb is that the highest priced real estate is closest to the ski lifts. Another rule is that the higher the location, the pricier the land.”

¶ three:
Given that logic (10,300 elevation should beat all) {...}
{...} (but in actually) this is just a rotten place for real estate development.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mr. Million’s Time Warp... dreams of diverting the mighty Green River's water

Dear Durango Telegraph Editor,
Last week Missy’s opinion started with recalling a wonderful river trip, one I could relate to having rafted that section during the 2010 peak water run off. Incredible water, incredible geology, incredible experience. But, as we know, the river is so much more than a good time. It’s our life blood and it has a new threat, Mr. Million’s water pipeline scheme, as Missy detailed in her opinion piece.

Seems like I barely finished it, when an email arrived from the High Country Citizens’ Alliance discussing Mr. Millions scheme and asking for support in convincing the Colorado Water Conservation Board not to spend $150,000 on studying the feasibility of a sure fire boondoggle.

To recap:

"Flaming Gorge/"Million" Pipeline": supporting evidence for why it should be abandoned

The following is a compilation of a few articles giving more background on the "Flaming Gorge/"Million" Pipeline" followed by a number of climatological studies that all indicate we need to start planning for a future with less rain water and smaller river flows.

Friday, March 11, 2011

ALERT! The sleeping Grizzly has awoken ~ Remains focused on devouring Alberta Park...

March 2011 Update...
The following has been pilfered from Friends of Wolf but contains an important update and I'm hoping they won't mind.

Forest Service to Process Wolf Creek Land Exchange Proposal

March 8, 2011
The Rio Grande National Forest has published a feasibility analysis for the proposed Village at Wolf Creek Land Exchange and has entered into an agreement with Mr. McCombs to process the land exchange proposal.