UPDATE - VWC-RGNF deal tossed out! Judge Rejects Flawed Process - RockyMtnWild Press Release
Any future Village Proposal Must Address Development Impacts on the National Forest and Lynx
Denver, CO — The Honorable Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch issued an Order today affirming that the Forest Service “failed to consider important aspects of the issues before them, offered an explanation for their decision that runs counter to the evidence, failed to base their decision on consideration of the relevant factors, and based their decision on an analysis that is contrary to law.” This Order concludes another chapter in this decades long saga to protect Wolf Creek pass from a large scale residential and commercial development that could accommodate 8,000 to 10,000 visitors.
“This ruling is an incredible victory for the flora and fauna that rely on Wolf Creek pass for their survival,” stated Tehri Parker, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Wild. “This order specifically recognizes the ‘unique’ environmental qualities of this region, and the role that it plays as a wildlife movement corridor between the Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness areas. We couldn’t be happier with this outcome and getting this great news on Endangered Species Day!”
The Court rejected the Forest Service’s conclusion that it lacked any control over the use of the private parcel. The Court explained that “there is no legal or logical basis for Defendants” position in the FEIS and ROD that the Forest Service had no power or jurisdiction to limit or regulate development on the federal lands being conveyed to LMJV in the present exchange.” The Court was troubled by the fact that the Forest Service previously conditioned use of the original parcel created in 1986 “with a scenic easement that limited development.”
Judge Matsch was also concerned with the fact that “development resulting from the Forest Service’s approval of the land exchange will adversely impact an endangered species, yet fails to comply with the statutory requirements for the protection of that species.” The species the Court was referring to is the federally listed Canada lynx which would have been harmed had the Village construction and operation commenced.