By Mike Blakeman
Special to The SUN
The Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF) is extending the 45-day comment period on the Village at Wolf Creek Access Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to Oct. 11.
“Although we have received over 250 comments on the DEIS thus far, I decided to extend the comment period ten days in response to a request for an extension from local and regional environmental organizations,” said Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor Dan Dallas.
The DEIS includes analyses of the land exchange as the proposed action, an access alternative, and a no-action alternative. The proposed land exchange involves approximately 204 federal acres and 178 non-federal acres within the boundaries of the Rio Grande National Forest. 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 the national forest.
The primary benefits of the land exchange proposal over the previous easement access proposal include scaled down development on the private land, relocation of most of the proposed private land development to an area farther away from the ski area, and a net gain to the Forest Service via acquisition of wetlands and perennial stream habitat for wildlife.
LMJV previously sought a right-of-way access across RGNF from U.S. Highway 160 to their private land. Since their private land is surrounded by National Forest System 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.
Comments should be submitted by Oct. 11, 2012. Comments can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include “Village at Wolf Creek Access Project DEIS” in the subject line of the e-mail.
Hardcopy comments should be addressed to: Village at Wolf Creek Access Project, c/o Tom Malecek, Divide District Ranger Rio Grande National Forest, 13308 West Highway 160, Del Norte, CO 81132.
For more information about the proposed Village at Wolf Creek Access Project, visit the Rio Grande National Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/riogrande.