For 25 years, Texas developer Billy Joe “Red” McCombs and his partners have sought to develop the “Village at Wolf Creek” – complete with condominiums, townhouses, hotels and restaurants – on his 287-acre parcel near the existing Wolf Creek Ski Area. But his property is surrounded on all sides by Forest Service land and is cut off from direct access to U.S. Highway 160.
Disagreement about the size of the village, its environmental footprint and road access have repeatedly stymied the project.
Two weeks ago, the Forest Service published a 567-page environmental impact analysis outlining three possible scenarios. The preferred option is a land exchange that would trade 204 acres of public land for 178 acres of McCombs’ private holdings. The swap would realign future development to be adjacent to the highway and farther from the ski area.
The other two options under consideration are approving an access road to McCombs’ current parcel through an easement or doing nothing.
After a 45-day public comment period ending Sept. 30, Rio Grande National Forest supervisor Dan Dallas will collate feedback from the public and release a decision in early 2013.