Lawsuit Challenges Wolf Creek Village Access Roads

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SAM Magazine--Wolf Creek, Colo., October 20, 2006--Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service's decision to allow two access roads accessing the proposed Wolf Creek Village to be built. Both groups contend that the roads, which would cross public lands, are only two dominos in the controversial development which would bring substantial growth the southern Colorado resort.

At issue is the Forest Service's April 3rd Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision. The lawsuit filed by Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council also challenges recent Forest Service actions modifying their earlier decision to make it easier for the developer to begin construction.

The lawsuit alleges that the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other federal laws when it opted to ignore the impacts of the proposed village and other forthcoming federal decisions in its April approval of two access roads.

The stated aim of the lawsuit is to force the Forest Service to "go back to the drawing board and conduct a thorough and legally sufficient analysis," of the potential environmental impacts of not just the roads in question but also the entire development.

"We sincerely hope that the Forest Service will immediately cease implementation of their decision until the Court reviews this matter," stated Geoff Hickcox attorney from the Western Law Center, which has filed suite on the groups' behalf. "If they refuse, we'll be forced to ask the Court to stop the agency from moving forward."

Should the effort be successful in blocking the approval of the access roads, the future of the development (which is on private lands) would be in question. Without access, development of the property would be difficult if not impossible