On Tuesday, Sept. 20, Divide District Ranger Tom Malecek will lead a field trip open to the public to view and discuss the proposed Village at Wolf Creek Land Exchange environmental analysis.
Forest Service specialists, representatives for the third-party contractor writing the analysis, and representatives for the proponent will also be available to answer questions.
The field trip will run from 10 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. Those people wishing to participate should meet at the Wolf Creek Ski Area parking area at 9:45 a.m. Participants may want to bring a lunch and should wear the appropriate clothing and footwear to walk up to two miles on uneven terrain at over 10,000 feet in elevation.
The Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) is conducting an environmental analysis in response to receiving a proposal for a land exchange from Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV). The proposal seeks exchanging approximately 204 acres of federal land for approximately 178 acres of private land owned by LMJV. Part of the federal land proposed for exchange would connect the private land to U.S. 160, thus precluding the need for securing access across National Forest System lands.
As an alternative to the proposal, the Forest Service will also analyze a potential easement across National Forest System lands to accommodate access to the private land. LMJV is entitled by federal statute to have granted to them by the Forest Service a right-of-way for access commensurate with the reasonable use and enjoyment of their property.
The RGNF is in the process of preparing an environmental impact statement to analyze the potential impacts of the land exchange and alternatives on the physical, human and biological environment. The draft EIS is expected to be released in early 2012. Although the scoping period has passed, public input is always welcomed and will help ensure a more thorough analysis.
For more information concerning the field trip, contact the Divide Ranger District at (719) 657-3321. Additional information about the proposed land exchange can be viewed at the RGNF website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande.