USFS likely to agree to settlement favoring enviros |

USFS likely to agree to settlement favoring enviros

DENVER – The U.S. Forest Service is near a settlement with environmentalists opposed to big development near the Wolf Creek ski area, says a published report.The Durango Herald said Colorado Wild, the lead group opposing a project that would dwarf existing facilities at Wolf Creek apparently will be getting much of what it wants. Specifically, the settlement would deny the developers road access to their property.Texas developers Bob Honts and Red McCombs want to build residences, shops, hotels and other services for up to 10,000 people.The main lodging for the small resort, which often has the most snow of any Colorado resort open on a daily basis, is in communities below the nearly 12,000-foot-high pass.Lawyers for Colorado Wild hinted at a settlement in two legal briefs this week. “At this point, it appears that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on the merits of Plaintiffs’ claims,” wrote attorneys for Colorado Wild and the Forest Service in the joint brief.Ryan Demmy Bidwell, director of Colorado Wild, said the proposed settlement is good news, but he would not go into detail.Colorado Wild and others had been pressing the Forest Service to do a new environmental assessment of the development. Its original report, which took three years to prepare and was released last year, would have granted road access to the developers.U.S. District Judge John Kane, senior Denver judge, has blocked construction of the roads until the case is finished.Honts declined to talk about the settlement proposal Friday, except to say he was aware of it.

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