Saturday, September 5, 2009

Village at Wolf Creek: Why not a Nature Conservancy resolution?

Also see December 2009
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also see:
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Last week the Durango Herald was filled with news about the reawakened push for the Village at Wolf Creek speculative development. First Red McCombs hires Michael Dino a heavy weight Democratic lobbyist. His mission - bring in the money cannons. Dino knows where to aim them for greatest effect in developing political channels for side stepping public review.

As the week unfurled we learned the new plan was hinged on a new land swap effectively moving the development a few hundred yards. Also, ‘Hal Jones Development’ is now proposing a resort merely three-quarters the size of the original ten thousand person conception.

The key ingredient to this new strategy would be Congressman Salazar sponsoring a land-swap bill. As Clint Jones, of HJD, says John Salazar is the only one who could credibly carry the land-exchange act through Congress. This may be true, but credibility is hard won and easily lost.

It seems difficult to believe Congressman Salazar could be swayed into compromising his credibility to join this speculative real estate scheme. Should you oppose the idea of developing Wolf Creek, now would be a good time to drop Congressman Salazar a line at or (202) 225-4761 or (970)-245-7107 or (719)-543-8200.

In another article US Senator Bennet speaks of “serious concerns about the potential impacts” and “We need to keep a close eye on the matter and get answers to a number of questions...”

Here are some starter questions: How viable is this eighties pipedream of building a small village at 10,000 elevation to begin with? Look at today’s economic reality and outlook. Consider the under appreciated future ripple effects our continuing rising chronic unemployment will have.

Look at the lower elevation areas around Wolf Creek Pass, Colorado ~ they have a frightening saturation of unsold vacation homes, as documented in a Pagosa Sun article by James Robinson (7-8-9). Why add to the glut?
Also see March 5, 2009 Durango Herald's story "(Luxury) Resorts morph into "toxic" real estate assets."

Why risk that high value fresh water resource?

Remember we are talking about source waters to the Rio Grande River. Any digging and construction will disrupt, even destroy portions of an exquisitely tuned biological super-organism, one that produces any number of priceless services for all down stream inhabitants. Moving the project a few hundred yards one way or another doesn’t change that.

When will developers appreciate that some places deserve to be left alone because they are of a caliber that warrants being considered National Security Resources?

There is also the matter of the original “dirty land swap.” Documented in Mike Soraghan’s 2-5-6, Denver Post article: “Wolf Creek development tangled with political ties.”

B.J. Red McCombs may hold legal title but, he does not possess ethical or moral title to that land. Therefore some of us continue to beg Mr. McCombs, and now his daughter, to please revert that land to some Nature Conservancy status, protecting that irreplaceable resource for the greater national good.

The solution really is that simple. Leave that parcel alone to remain an unmolested portion of an indescribably important biological super-organism. It would be a fitting gesture for someone who recently received the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars award for “corporate citizenship.”

If you agree, please encourage Red McCombs to reconsider his priorities. He can be reached through .

Sincerely, Peter Miesler
Durango, Colorado

PS. Mr. McCombs doesn’t “The Billy Joe “Red” McCombs Fresh Water Biological Preserve” ~ dedicated to all down stream children yet to be born, have a nice ring to it?

For more information visit Friends of Wolf Creek at

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