Sunday, May 24, 2015

Update: Village at Wolf Creek, Colorado - May 2015


Hee'z baaack, and still hell bent on tearing the heart out of Alberta Park, Wolf Creek, Colorado. 
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Up in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, below Wolf Creek Pass, an epic wetlands-preservation struggle has been going on.

The smoldering mess was reignited in May when the Rio Grande National Forest released its final decision regarding the Village at Wolf Creek Access Project. This decision allows the exchange of 205 acres of prime Rio Grande National Forest, including some 1500 feet of highway frontage, for 177 acres of difficult-to-develop and landlocked property owned by the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture. Talk about a smooth poker play.

You may wonder, what's going on here? Well, it's the good old story: Money don't talk, it screams. At the heart of this battle is a Texan billionaire with a love for the real-estate poker game and a sick obsession with creating a fairytale Village at Wolf Creek. This so-called “village” would include condos, luxury-goods stores, and upscale restaurants – 10,000 people at 10,000 feet, it’s been dubbed. Sadly, his imagination is too filled with fantasies of thousands of rich and eager buyers flocking to the Colorado hinterlands to realize what he's holding in his hand.

Just uphill we have the family-run Wolf Creek Ski Area, which is nestled in a great sweeping bowl up against USA's Great Divide.  Here you'll find some of the deepest powder skiing in Colorado.  The land also happens to collect a vast quantity of source waters for the interstate and international Rio Grande River. The owners of the ski area have been on-again, off-again players doing their best to minimize exposure, while remaining savvy to opportunities.

Opposing Mr. McCombs and his sacred mantra of “Development Trumps All” are Colorado grassroots groups such as the Friends of Wolf Creek, San Juan Citizens Alliance and San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, among others - all of whom have put up a spirited defense on behalf of the wetlands that have no voice. 

This struggle has been going on for nearly three decades now.

To understand the opposition, you must understand that the targeted "parcel" is in Alberta Park. And Alberta Park happens to be the keystone of this great Wolf Creek Pass watershed

It's where the land levels out and water seeps down deep on its short journey to the head waters of the Rio Grande. Alberta Park is an intricate wetlands of complex subsurface hydrology with thousand-year-old Fens (peat-moss landscape) laced throughout. This community  performs a myriad of biological functions while storing and filtering the water upon which the Rio Grande stakeholders depend.

Yet our developers' attitude towards this natural resource is one of disinterested contempt as they explain how drainage ditches and a small-scale water-treatment plant will compensate for the destruction of this natural water-purification complex and the wildlife habitat that comes with it.

In defense of Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas and his decision, it must be pointed out that his options were severely restricted by statutory requirements and also by being forced to abide by an odd interpretation of the "Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act" of 1980.  (Not to say there aren't serious questions and objections being raised regarding this most recent EIS process.)

Alaska wilderness 1970-80s, Colorado in the 2010s – what’s the connection? What's the reasoning here? Go fish... try finding a justification for that interpretation.

Why should ANILCA have standing in this particular Colorado situation? I believe a misuse of the law deserves being questioned. After all, the parcel was already landlocked within the long-established RGNF. The law was created to protect private lands within newly created Federal Land entities, thus I believe citizens have a right, if not a duty, to object to that interpretation.

In any event, now that the RGNF has decided to swap "parcels" and legal title goes to LMJV, the poker game moves on to the Mineral County Commissioners, located in Creede (population <500), the county's only town, and a comfortable 40 miles and across the mountains from this ground zero.

Hopefully it'll be different this time, because a decade or so ago, sorry to say, they were pushovers for the slick Texan with deep pockets.

Now it starts again and it's going to take a lot of informed and active citizens to oppose the power of those deep pockets as LMJV continues their single-minded pursuit of their atrocious Village at Wolf Creek pipe dream.

On Saturday June 20, there will be a celebration at Wolf Creek Ski Area called "Honor Wolf Creek" and it will focus on appreciating this wonderland through art, poetry and music. For details check out PlanetExperts.com, hosts of the event.

I believe the event will help people from all over the state get acquainted and exchange ideas and perhaps come up with strategies on how to convince LMJV of the foolishness of their destructive development plan.


The ultimate goal is to return this priceless parcel back into the Rio Grande National Forest from whence it was torn. Can you help?
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Following are a few links dedicated to raising awareness and sharing information plus further links to various players and more information:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2015
Celebrating Alberta Park and Honoring Wolf Creek

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2015
Rejecting the Village At Wolf Creek, list of go-to info and resources

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THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015
Final decision released for Village at Wolf Creek Access Project, May 21, 2015

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THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2015
Questioning ANILCA and Village at Wolf Creek
http://no-villageatwolfcreek.blogspot.com/2015/05/questioning-anilca-vwc.html

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SATURDAY, JANUARY 3, 2015

What is "Reasonable Use" of Alberta Park at Wolf Creek, Colorado?


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SATURDAY, JANUARY 3, 2015


(NO-VillageatWolfCreek.blogspot is my own website, 
I like to think of it as a kiosk of information for those wanting to 
understand why Alberta Park should remain unmolested by destructive development)

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THE GO-TO ORGANIZATIONS IF YOU WANTED TO GET INVOLVED:

Friends of Wolf Creek
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San Juan Citizens Alliance
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San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council 
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Saturday, June 20th, 2015 Honoring Wolf Creek at Wolf Creek Ski Area
 and Celebrating Alberta Park
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A closer look at some of the real world details:

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Assessment of Wetland Condition on the Rio Grande National Forest

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Inventory of Fens in a Large Landscape of West-Central Colorado

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Hydrology Of The Wolf Creek Pass Area,  November 7, 2014

The Village At Wolf Creek: Salesmanship Trumps Meteorology

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Rio Grande National Forest: Village at Wolf Creek Access Project
The Rio Grande National Forest is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement to analyze the effects of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek land exchange.
Location Summary
The federal and non-federal parcels to be considered are entirely within Mineral County, Colorado
District: Divide Ranger District

Project Documents
Date Published
  1. Scoping
    1. Scoping Letter for the Village at Wolf Creek Land Exchange Proposal
    1. Figure showing the current private parcel surrounded by the Rio Grande National Forest
    1. Figure showing the proposed land exchange Federal and non-Federal parcels
    1. Figure showing potential access location from U.S. Highway 160
    1. Notice of Intent to prepare and Environmental Impact Statement for the Village at Wolf Creek Land Exchange Proposal

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A high school student explains what global warming is all about

A few weeks ago I came across this video which does a nice clean job of describing the scientific understanding regarding global warming.  When I noticed it was put together by a couple high school juniors, the unfortunates who will inherit this monstrosity our complacent self-centered society is creatingI was impressed enough to ask Emily permission to mirror her video.  It took a month, but a few days ago I received her permission, so here it is.  

THIS IS WHAT SCIENCE SOUNDS LIKE:




The Science Behind Global Warming (Documentary)

my notes of highlights followed by her citations:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

You, me, we don’t need a scriptural “God” - Knowing Evolution Is Enough!

This started as a comment at CenterForInquiry Forum but it ballooned into an essay and since it turned into a pretty fair presentation of my thoughts on this topic, I figure I'd post it over here.
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Back to the original thought:
“When circumstances are terrible, certainly you will suspend your atheism.”

Why?  For what purpose?

Some put all this stock in Holy Books and people’s interpretations of those books along with the images we weave in our minds, created out of the desires in our hearts.  But that’s your/their god, a security blanket, and we all need our security blankets, I’m not knocking that.  It’s the arrogance and defensive super-natural Faith folks imbibe it with, (exemplified in that bold boast at the start of this essay), that’s over the top.

There are some who have gone through personal struggles and rebirths, folks who understand Jesus’s Passion for what it is, a guide (support and inspiration) for our own personal spiritual journeys - with it’s various personal trials and tribulations, for aid and support in transitioning through our own lives, from dependent, self-centered, selfish child, into balanced self sufficient adulthood and eventually beyond to wise person and adept societal matriarch or patriarch (metaphorically speaking) - according to each circumstance.
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Once one’s spiritual foundation grows beyond our mental images of God and Holy Stories (the Shadow Plays that help us glimpse a greater awareness) that awe gets transferred to the reality of our Mother Earth, the organism that created this world and each of us - 
and a totally different, much more solid, dare I say mature, type of spiritual foundation is formed.

Rooted in a deep understanding of Evolution's Pageant and its creation of ever more complex building blocks that drove yet more complexity.  The evolution of atomic particles and elements, gravity and star formation,  Ah, the stars, factories creating one element after another, up to Iron.  Then the wonder of exploding giant stars (Super Novas) that created all the heavier elements in a flash.  Thus making future complex worlds possible.  Fascinating.  Gravity and solar system formation and the wonder of our planet’s development.  Then that early addition of the moon, by way of a furious collision!  Don't that beat all in the Holy Books?

The close-in moon’s constant gravitational churning…

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Investigating China’s Smog, “Under the Dome” - Chai Jing

Considering that some are trying to censor this important video, I figured I should do my little part for international free speech… and honestly facing the world we have created for our children, and embed it over here.
        
Investigating China’s Smog, “Under the Dome” - Chai Jing


Under the Dome (Chinese: 穹顶之下; pinyin: qióngdǐng zhī xià) is a 2015 self-financed, Chinese documentary film by Chai Jing, a former China Central Television journalist, concerning air pollution in China. 

Chai Jing started making the documentary when her as yet unborn daughter developed a tumour in the womb, which had to be removed very soon after her birth. 

The film openly criticises state owned energy companies, steel producers and coal factories, as well as showing the inability of the Ministry of Environmental Protection to act against the big polluters.

Despite demonstrating the failure of China's regulations on pollution, the Chinese government at first did not censor the film. Instead, the People's Daily reposted the film alongside an interview with Chai, while Chen Jining, the recently-appointed minister for environmental protection, praised the film, comparing its significance with Silent Spring, the 1962 book by US environmentalist Rachel Carson

However, within a week, the Communist Party’s publicity department confidentially ordered the film to be removed. An employee of China Business News was suspended for leaking the order. ...
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Chai Jing's: Under the Dome 
Investigating China’s Smog 
柴静雾霾调查:穹顶之下 
(full translation)


Published on Mar 1, 2015 | 1:43:55
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6X2uwlQGQM

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Watching Flames, Pascal Bruckner Fiddles, fanaticism of the apocalypse


Over at my WUWTW blogspot one of the most visited posts is  "Pascal Bruckner's "Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" - A Citizen's Response" dated June 18, 2013 which still receives a surprising number of regular viewings.  This prompted me to google his name and see if anything special was going on these days, doesn't seem to be, but I did read another article (ironically posted the day before my first critique) based on his book "Fanaticism of the Apocalypse" that I found disappointing and shallow.  Not a reflection of our real world situation at all.

Worst is Bruckner's seeming insistence that all this concern about what's happening to our climate is some frivolous fad and that all we have to worry about is our worries.  Most disconnected from the reality of global trends and quite frankly begging for a rebuttal, which I am providing, until someone with more intellectual horse power has the nerve, or interest, to take on the great French thinker Monsieur Pascal Bruckner.


I reprint the full text, neither having, nor asking for permission, because Pascal puts himself out there as a great thinker trying to influence the masses, also considering this was posted at The Chronicle of Higher Education, it seems only proper that they allow his words to be examined with a skeptical eye.


=========================
June 17, 2013
Against Environmental Panic

By Pascal Bruckner (4200words)

¶1  In Jesuit schools we were urged to strengthen our faith by spending time in monasteries. We were assigned spiritual exercises to be dutifully written in little notebooks that were supposed to renew the promises made at baptism and to celebrate the virtues of Christian love and succor for the weak. It wasn't enough just to believe; we had to testify to our adherence to the Holy Scriptures and drive Satan out of our hearts. These practices were sanctioned by daily confessions under the guidance of a priest. We all probed our hearts to extirpate the germs of iniquity and to test, with a delicious thrill, the borderline separating grace from sin. We were immersed in an atmosphere of meditative reverence, and the desire to be good gave our days a special contour.

¶2  We knew that God was looking down on us indulgently: We were young, we were allowed to stumble. In his great ledger, he wrote down each of our actions, weighing them with perfect equanimity. We engaged in refined forms of piety in order to gain favors. Regarded from an adult point of view, these childish efforts, which were close to the ancients' spiritual exercises, were not without a certain nobility. They wavered between docility and a feeling of lofty grandeur. At least we learned the art of knowing ourselves, of resisting the turmoil of puberty.

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It seems such a cloistered background might create deep seated life long conscious and subconscious conflicts.  I know that some guidance counselors are so wrapped-up within their own struggles that they too easily transfer their own issues onto the 'client', never "seeing" their client's actual challenges - and I wonder if that may be going on here.  

It is fair to ask Pascal, to ask himself, how much of this missive might be his own struggles with early childhood resentments towards the church, only now transferring those internal struggles into the more lucrative realm of attacking science?
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¶3  What a surprise to witness, half a century later, the powerful return of this frame of mind, but this time under the aegis of science. 

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What "powerful" are we talking about here?  Media tycoons?  Pundits?  Who?

Please note Pascal never defines what he's referring to "under the aegis of science" simply leaving it hanging in the air and returning to what's going on in the public dialogue.
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Consider the meaning in contemporary jargon of the famous carbon footprint that we all leave behind us. What is it, after all, if not the gaseous equivalent of Original Sin, of the stain that we inflict on our Mother Gaia by the simple fact of being present and breathing? We can all gauge the volume of our emissions, day after day, with the injunction to curtail them, just as children saying their catechisms are supposed to curtail their sins.

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Perhaps for a religious person "original sin" is as substantial as water - but they are mistaken.  Original sin is a plot point in a metaphysical myth, an imaginary construct just the same.

The Carbon Footprint is another kind of construct, one that has a very real physical component, namely a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that a person or activity produces with the fossil fuels being burned for said activity.  It is substantive and it has a cumulative physical impact on this planet.  

In other words, Pascal doesn't seem to recognize the difference between the "substantial" and "insubstantial".
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¶4  Ecologism,

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The "Global Weirding" project

I came across a new project that tries to present the many strands of known evidence as collected by the IPCC in an interesting and new way.  It consists of conservative projection of where current climate trends are taking our society and us.   The longer we collectively ignore, the harder it's going to hit.  I myself think this is over optimistic regarding the resilience of our complex society, but that's just me.  In any event, it's worth sharing, take a look:

Global Weirding
{glowb’l-wee-erding} noun

Describes how the rise in average global temperature leads to all sorts of crazy things — from hotter heat spells to colder cold spells, more drought and intense flooding, as well as slow-onset changes such as ocean acidification and sea level rise. Also includes oddball things such as jellyfish clogging up the pipes of nuclear power plants, forcing them to shut down.
Ready! {because it's begun!}

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The "What" and "Who" of the "Global Weirding"

This is a remix of the Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5), the most comprehensive report on climate change ever produced. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Friends of Wolf Creek vs Village at Wolf Creek - The Game Is Afoot!

The Rio Grande National Forest has agreed to the Red McCombs Landswap offer and the future development of Alberta Park.  
For more information visit: 

Village at Wolf Creek Breaking News - 

RGNF Decides in Favor of Developing Alberta Park, 

near Wolf Creek Pass!


VWC Access Project "Final Environmental Impact Statement" index

Text of Draft index; and introduction; and background. 
"The publication of the draft record of decision in the Valley Courier starts a 45-day objection period. The final decision will be signed if no objections are received.RGNF
{By my math that makes it Sunday January 4th - excellent timing for the release I must say}


For the decision see: