The Money Behind The Opposition

The “True” Friends of Wolf Creek

On the Friends of Wolf Creek website (, our opposition asks locals for financial donations to help fund their efforts against our project. Below are recent excerpts from their website:

“Donate. Since 1986, our coalition of small nonprofit organizations has successfully stopped the efforts of a billionaire developer. How have we done it? Through the generous donations of friends like you. Your donation, no matter how big or small, will make a real difference in our current effort to stop the “Village.” Select “Friends of Wolf Creek” under “Direct My Donation.”

“Support: Court costs can get expensive. Help us fund the cause to keep Wolf Creek pass wild.”

These requests for funding give the impression that these are small, local, financially-deprived grass-roots organizations struggling to fight against the large-money billionaire developer . . . almost like a David vs. Goliath. Nothing could be further from the truth, and we have the records and documentation to prove it.

This is what they don’t want you to know…

1. These groups are backed by their own billionaires and millionaires from outside of Colorado who are individually and collectively worth far more than Mr. McCombs.

2. Our opponents have collected MILLIONS of dollars over the last 10+ years from these billionaires and millionaires. Yet they continue to ask locals in an economically deprived area to make additional donations to them.

3. Despite having received MILLIONS of dollars from these out-of-state billionaires and millionaires, these groups have also received hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax-payer funds awarded by the federal courts to cover their own attorneys’ fees in the litigation they have brought.

This is NOT your local grass-roots coalition fighting against the project. These are not financially deprived non-profit organizations that are struggling to make ends meet year after year. This is a mega-machine of big-money interests from the east and west coasts that have their own political and ideological agenda to stop this and other projects that could bring economic benefits to your local communities.

These groups do not have to publicly publish where they receive their funds and typically want that information hidden so that no one knows how well funded they are or where there money comes from. This helps them raise more funds through small local donations from people who do not know that they do not need these donations. This also hides their true agenda and gives an impression that they are driven by a worthy cause, when they are nothing more than a business machine carrying out the agenda of their uber-wealthy contributors.

The reason it is so hard to find this information is because these billionaires and millionaires typically donate millions of dollars to multiple foundations, which then funnel it either directly or through other foundations to these non-profit organizations.

The organizations that make up the “Friends of Wolf Creek” and that received funds through various foundations that are funded by billionaires and millionaires who are not from Colorado include:

  • Rocky Mountain Wild – (RMW) – Denver, Colorado (aka = Center for Native Ecosystems) (aka = Colorado Wild)
  • San Juan Citizens Alliance – (SJCA) – Durango, Colorado
  • San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council – (SLVEC) – Alamosa, Colorado
  • Wilderness Workshop – (WW) – Carbondale, Colorado
    • Chama Peak Land Alliance – (CHAMA) – Santa Fe, New Mexico
    • Great Old Broads – (GOB) – Durango, Colorado
    • Colorado Environmental Coalition – (CEC) – Denver, Colorado
    • Ecoflight – (ECO) – Aspen, Colorado
    • Rocky Mountain Recreational Initiative – (RMRI) – Salida, Colorado
    • Colorado Mountain Club – (CMC) – Golden, Colorado

Some of ultra-wealthy people who have provided large sums of money to most, if not all, of these organizations include Hansjoerg Wyss and Lavinia Currier. Mr. Wyss, a Swiss national living in the United States, has donated millions through the Wyss Foundation and other foundations to these groups. Mr. Wyss has been in the press over the past years for several scandals that can be researched by searching his name on the internet. Ms. Currier, an heiress to the Mellon fortune, has given thousands to these groups through her Sacharuna Foundation and has direct ties to some of these organizations. There are other foundations, such as the New Venture Fund (Washington D.C.), The New-Land Foundation, Inc.(NY,NY) and the Resources Legacy Fund (Sacramento, CA), which have also contributed heavily to these organizations. This is just a sample of the various foundations that fund these groups.

So, to set the record straight, this is not a David vs. Goliath situation as our opponents and some of their media outlets have portrayed it. We have never hidden who is behind our project. We are proud of Mr. McCombs and his efforts to bring economic prosperity to the tri-county region adjacent to Wolf Creek. Our opponents, though, should likewise be open, honest, and transparent with the local communities and reveal who is backing them and where their backers are from. If they won’t reveal to the local communities who is funding them and influencing their ideological positions to the detriment of the local communities, the press should investigate and reveal who is funding them. This would allow the public to know who and what is driving their interests and why they continue to deprive the local communities of the economic stimulus that our project will bring to the area.

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Support Statement

“When I first moved to South Fork in 2004, I introduced myself to a number of people – bankers, realtors, contractors, etc. – and asked them how they felt about Red's proposed development. A lot of them told me that they had been hearing about that project for as long as they have lived here. I can't say that anyone, with the exception of the owners of the ski “area” business, see that development as the next catalyst for this area. The Pitcher family (which owns the ski resort) needs to be very vocal about their support of the project. They could win over all of the skiers, who would start telling all of their buddies in the surrounding states that the Pitchers now endorse the development. I would love to see this project happen. And I would love to be a part of it as well.”

– Keith Helmstetler, local architect based in South Fork