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Courtroom Battle Likely in Fight Over the Village at Wolf Creek

After delaying their decision in the controversial land trade that is crucial for the development of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, the U.S. Forest Service just green-lighted the project. Now, conservation advocates in Colorado are gearing up for a legal battle against the Forest Service in order to fight the development.

The Village at Wolf Creek has been the vision of Texas billionaire Billy Joe "Red" McCombs since the 1980s. Mr. McCombs, 87, has spent 28 years planning a massive town near Wolf Creek Ski Area, not far from Pagosa Springs, Colorado. At full build out, the Village at Wolf Creek will have up to 1,711 units comprised of hotels, condos, town homes, and single family houses. Access to the ski resort would be from the Alberta chairlift or a new chairlift called the Meadow lift.

In their November 20 decision, the Forest Service approved a 2010 land swap proposal that traded 204.4 federal acres on southern Colorado's Wolf Creek pass for 177.6 acres of private land on the Continental Divide.

But once the public comment period began in November, environmental and land advocacy groups went on full blast, causing the U.S. Forest Service to take another 30 days to analyze the land trade.

Now, Rocky Mountain Region Deputy Regional Forester Maribeth Gustafson affirmed Dallas' November decision. In her latest report, Gustafon states that the November decision showed "no violation of law, regulation, or policy."

Opponents believe that the development at Wolf Creek will forever hurt a fragile lynx habitat. Several groups have come together to file two lawsuits in the Colorado U.S. District Court over access to records and whether the developer has exerted any undue influence over Forest Service personnel.

The decades-long fight over the Village at Wolf Creek continues.

· Forest Service affirms land swap with Wolf Creek Village developer [Denver Post]
· Court showdown likely in Wolf Creek land swap battle [SCCV]
· Forest Service Delays Decision on Wolf Creek [Curbed Ski]
· Plans Move Forward on Village at Wolf Creek [Curbed Ski]
· The Village at Wolf Creek [Official Site]
· $1 Billion Jumbo Glacier Resort Still May Not Happen [Curbed Ski]
· Go Here Now: The Top Reasons to Ski at Wolf Creek [Curbed Ski]
· Find Neverending Powder On This Colorado Road Trip [Curbed Ski]