As the CEO of Wolf Creek Ski Area (WCSA), I would like to make you aware of my position regarding the property owned by the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV) and located within, as well as adjacent to, the boundaries of the Wolf Creek Ski Area special use permit. For a number of years, the LMJV has been working on obtaining access to their land through various federal processes. I fully support their efforts and for many years have been advocating for the realignment of the private property for the following reasons:
• The proposed land exchange would Provide LMJV with direct access to their inholding off of Highway 160, which lies within Mineral County; therefore, benefiting the county.
• It would preserve valuable wetlands, and preserve and protect skiable terrain for the continued enjoyment of the public.
• It would also relieve the USFS of the administrative burden of having additional permitting requirements through ANILCA.
While the Wolf Creek Ski Area greatly prefers the land exchange solution, it also supports and understands the need for LMJV to pursue a direct access through the USFS process. And while the recent ROD issued by Dan Dallas, Rio Grande Forest Supervisor, is acceptable; I still firmly believe the land exchange to be preferable.
In either case, it is clear to me that LMJV should have a dedicated entrance to its project separate and apart from the WCSA entrance. WCSA supports such a dedicated entrance.
Finally, I have been in continued contact with Red McCombs and his daughter Marsha McCombs-Shields concerning their plans for the LMJV project. It is my opinion that the McCombs family has listened to the concerns of WCSA and others and their revised plans are much improved. They have demonstrated to me a continued and growing understanding of the unique nature of this part of Colorado, as well as a willingness to listen, and they appear to understand that the traditional development model may not work in the area. Their evolving plans reflect this. Any development at that parcel requires a distinctive approach that values the unique experience of visiting WCSA and the surrounding forest, and I believe that the McCombs family will endeavor to accomplish this if allowed to.