A small victory for conservationists trying to block Wolf Creek development

“Mountain solitude reimagined” is the motto for The Village at Wolf Creek, a massive, in-the-works development project near the Wolf Creek Ski Area and the Rio Grande National Forest in southwestern Colorado.

The art for the project, seen above, makes it look old-fashioned, quaint, and decidedly unlike many of the eyesore  developments that have pocked so many Rocky Mountain ski towns.

To build the project, developer Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture needs land that cuts through the national forest to carve out a road. In May, the company struck a land-swap deal with the Forest Service that has riled up the conservation community whose nightmare vision of bulldozers, fallen trees, sullied animal habitat, poured concrete and gaggles of vacationers inspired activists to go to court to stop the exchange.

A coalition of environmental activists, including Rocky Mountain Wild, the San Juan Citizens Alliance and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, are celebrating a new agreement struck between the company, the Forest Service and conservationists Tuesday that will halt all construction until the legality of the land exchange is determined in court.

Under the pact, neither the Forest Service nor the developer will alter the land until a decision is made. If the conservationists win, the original ownership will be reestablished, creating a throbbing headache for the developer who will have lost a key road it needs to begin construction. It would mark a coup for environmentalists who hope to keep one of Colorado’s least resort-y ski resorts as undeveloped as possible and preserve “mountain solitude” without having to “reimagine” it.


Photo credit: The Village at Wolf Creek