Friday, April 5, 2024

(3of3) Village at Wolf Creek, Ryan Bidwell 'the early years' 2009

Ryan Bidwell’s informative VWC backstory, given in Pagosa Springs back in 2009, at about the end of the first LMJV epoch, and the beginning of Red McCombs' land swap epoch, which ended a couple years ago.  I've transcribed the talk and added some important links where appropriate.  


This problem will flash back into the limelight once the Court hands down its decision and Leavell McCombs Joint Venture announces it's updated development plans for their high altitude luxury village on top of Alberta Park the hydrological heart of the Wolf Creek watershed. 

===================================================


Wolf Creek Village Presentation from Colorado Wild -- Part 7

Ryan Bidwell - (7/9)



Oct 22, 2009:  Ryan Bidwell, Executive Director of Colorado Wild, provides his group's position on the proposed Village at Wolf Creek. 

Filmed by D. West Davies  (AllThingsPagosa.com/), and of Jim Smith Realty at the Riverwalk Cafe in downtown Pagosa Springs.


Colorado Wild joined with the Center for Native Ecosystems and are now 

Rocky Mountain Wild

 

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

(2of3) Village at Wolf Creek, Ryan Bidwell 'the early years' 2009

Ryan Bidwell’s informative VWC backstory, given in Pagosa Springs back in 2009, at about the end of the first LMJV epoch, and the beginning of Red McCombs' land swap epoch, which ended a couple years ago.  I've transcribed the talk and added some important links where appropriate.  


What follows is part two of a three part series and it's intended to help inform a younger generation about this decades old unresolved issue.  A problem that will come back into the public limelight once the Court hands down its decision regarding the access road in the next months.

===================================================


Wolf Creek Village Presentation from Colorado Wild -- Part 4

Ryan Bidwell - (4/9)



Oct 22, 2009:  Ryan Bidwell, Executive Director of Colorado Wild, provides his group's position on the proposed Village at Wolf Creek. 

Filmed by D. West Davies  (AllThingsPagosa.com/), and of Jim Smith Realty at the Riverwalk Cafe in downtown Pagosa Springs.


Colorado Wild joined with the Center for Native Ecosystems and are now 

Rocky Mountain Wild

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

(1of3) Village at Wolf Creek, Ryan Bidwell 'the early years' 2009


I intend to produce a series of informative write-ups dedicated to explaining why allowing LMJV to bulldoze a luxury "Village at Wolf Creek" into Alberta Park (~10,300’), - the hydrological heart of the Wolf Creek watershed in the Rio Grande National Forest - is inviting irreparable environmental damage, along with their own business failure, resulting in region wide unintended financial burdens.  


The evidence will argue that it’s in everyone’s best interest (including potential naive investors) to preserve this high elevation hydrological heart of the Wolf Creek watershed, which flows into the much beleaguered Rio Grande River, to leave it alone.  


I recognize I’m a life long unabashed tree-hugger, so it’s self-evident to me.  That’s why I’m going to make a point to minimize my own opining, and to allow the efforts of various authorities and experts to do the explaining.  


Since I've long been impressed with Ryan Bidwell’s informative 2009 backstory, given in Pagosa Springs, at about the end of the first LMJV epoch, and the beginning of Red McCombs' land swap epoch, which itself ended a couple years back - I've transcribed the talk.  


What follows is a three part series, each featuring three (10ish minute) segments and a transcription that I annotated with links to further details where appropriate.


======================================================


Wolf Creek Village Presentation from Colorado Wild -- Part 1

Ryan Bidwell - (1/9)



Oct 22, 2009:  Ryan Bidwell, Executive Director of Colorado Wild, provides his group's position on the proposed Village at Wolf Creek. 

Filmed by D. West Davies  (AllThingsPagosa.com/), and of Jim Smith Realty at the Riverwalk Cafe in downtown Pagosa Springs.


Colorado Wild joined with the Center for Native Ecosystems and are now 

Rocky Mountain Wild

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

A History of Village at Wolf Creek, RGNF - Ryan Bidwell's 2009 presentation


With election season just around the corner I thought it might be time to revisit the ongoing Leavell McCombs Joint Venture threat to the health and safety of Alberta Park at the headwaters of the already threatened Rio Grande River.  Unfortunately, Caucus Season isn't what it used to be, but I still plan to attend the La Plata Democratic Assembly in Durango this coming Saturday and do what I can to help remind folks that this issue is still a long way from getting resolved.  

Basically it will never get resolved unless We The People put pressure on the Rio Grande National Forest powers that be and convince them to shift and refocus USDA-RGNF priorities back to the needs of the endangered Rio Grande River, and returning Alberta Park to the Rio Grande National Forest, to serve the nation's needs as opposed to entertaining a greedy developer's speculative gamble.
________________________________________________________________________

Village at Wolf Creek History

Ryan Bidwell, Executive Director of Colorado Wild 

A nine part series by West Davies

Recorded October, 2009

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Village at Wolf Creek saga continues...Rocky Mtn Wild, News Update - August 2nd, 2023


RMW: "On July 21, 2023, Rocky Mountain Wild and our partner organizations filed a Response Brief defending both Judge Matsch and Judge Arguello's Orders and reiterating all the reasons why the Agencies actions were unlawful."

I received an update to the ongoing legal sage of the infamous "Village at Wolf Creek" land speculation, which is situated at over 10,000 feet (over 3,000 meters) elevation, where the air pressure is 10.2 PSI compared to sea level's 14.7 PSI, which makes a big difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy body.  

But I digress, this issue is about speculation for profits and developers, not breathable air, or healthy living, and the reason for this post is to share Rocky Mountain Wild's recent update on the seemingly never-ending legal battle to save Alberta Park from a destructive fanciful development (that's destined to turn into a habitat destroying, business bankrupting boondoggle, if ever allowed to go forward).

For some backstory, visit: Caught Red-handed - April 4, 2019


August 1, 2023


The Village at Wolf Creek saga continues...

 

On October 20, 2022, Federal District Court Judge Christine Arguello once again ruled that the Forest Service acted unlawfully when issuing the access decision for the Village at Wolf Creek. The Court also found that the Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act when analyzing the impacts of this decision on the Federally listed Canada lynx. 


Judge Arguello partially based her decision on Judge Richard Matsch's 2017 Orders finding a similar decision to be unlawful. Instead of responding to Judge Matsch's Orders through completing a lawful environmental analysis of the impacts of this access decision, the agencies relied on the same faulty analysis in issuing a new decision in 2018.  

 

Both the Forest Service and the Developer, the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, appealed Judge Arguello's decision to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. 


On July 21, 2023, Rocky Mountain Wild and our partner organizations filed a Response Brief defending both Judge Matsch and Judge Arguello's Orders and reiterating all the reasons why the Agencies actions were unlawful. The Agencies continue to elevate the desires of a developer over protection of our National Forests and the species that require that habitat to survive.  

 

The issues with this proposed development started back in 1986. The developer acquired this piece of land with what it conveyed as a worst-case development scenario of 208 units. To ensure the development was compatible with the ski area and the surrounding Forests, a scenic easement was placed on the parcel to limit the development and the ski area was involved in the project. 


However, after acquiring the parcel, the Developer proposed closer to a 2000-unit development. The Developer and the Ski Area's relationship also deteriorated to the point where they ended up in Court on opposite sides of a case. Based on the increase in the development size and the issues with the Ski Area, the Developer needs a new and larger access road to the parcel. Decades of litigation, improper political pressure, unlawful agency actions, and uncertainty for Wolf Creek Pass ensued.  

 

Now the fate of this important habitat connectivity corridor in a uniquely undeveloped area of Southern Colorado will be up to a panel of three appellate judges. We will keep you posted as our efforts to protect Wolf Creek Pass continue to unfold.  

 

No Pillage!



Matt Sandler

Legal Director, Leadership Team

Rocky Mountain Wild



P.S. Interested in supporting this work? Donate to Rocky Mountain Wild through our Colorado Gives page.



F.Y.I.


April 2019


Wednesday, February 22, 2023

'Red' McCombs dies at 95

 

Red McCombs, Car Salesman Turned Media Mogul, Dies at 95

By Glenn Rifkin - New York TimesFeb. 21, 2023


Red McCombs, a former Texas used car dealer who became a billionaire entrepreneur by venturing into an array of successful businesses, including the media giant Clear Channel Communications and several professional sports teams, died on Sunday at his home in San Antonio. He was 95.

His family announced his death but did not state the cause.   …


I did meet him twice and all I can say is that he was a man for whom too much was never enough.

       


Now I can only hope his family will reconsider their Alberta Park misadventure, then do the right thing by trading the Alberta Park parcel for something more realistic at lower elevation, or simply returning it to it's rightful owners, the national trust, within the protection of the Rio Grande National Forest.  

They could then change the name to "Red McCombs' Memorial Meadow".

      


After all, it is in the heart of the headwaters to the interstate, international Rio Grande River, it deserves to be left alone, serving its historic function as watershed and wildlife refuge.  

What better tribute could there be?

          


SUNDAY, APRIL 7, 2019

INDEX of VWC-Environmental Impact Statement issues ...


Contents 

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Red McCombs, Can You Hear Us Now?... NO Village at Wolf Creek! (update 10/25/22)

 

The Wolf Creek Village speculator loses third legal fight for access road atop Wolf Creek Pass.                                        Update:  Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun

It's an essential watershed !

© citizenschallenge 2022
     
LEAVE IT ALONE !


Texas billionaire Red McCombs has spent 36 years vying for access to an inholding where he plans a resort village for 10,000 residents in the middle of this Rio Grande watershed.


Monday, Oct 24, 2022

Excerpts Via the Durango Herald


“Judge Arguello on Thursday ruled that the Forest Service should not have relied on its “flawed” and “legally deficient” 2015 environmental review of Wolf Creek Village to make its 2019 access decision. She ruled both the 2019 right of way decision by the Forest Service, just like the agency’s 2015 approval of the land exchange, was “arbitrary and capricious.”

“… confirmed an earlier ruling that the Forest Service “failed to consider important aspects of the issues before them, offered an explanation for their decision that runs counter to the evidence, failed to base their decision on consideration of the relevant factors, and based their decision on an analysis that is contrary to the law. …”

“We’ve never seen an honest evaluation of the environmental impacts of constructing a city of 8,000 people at over 10,000 feet atop one of snowiest locations in Colorado, probably because the impacts if revealed would be staggering,” Mark Pearson, executive director at San Juan Citizens Alliance, said in a statement.

© citizenschallenge 2022