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The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) auctioned 14 Payette Lake lots for deeded ownership at a public auction in Boise last Friday.

The land sales generated $7,895,500 for the endowment funds that support State Hospital South and teacher education programs at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

The Idaho Constitution requires a public auction for the disposal of state endowment trust lands, and IDL can accept no less than the appraised value of the properties.

All 14 lots have cabins on them. The land is owned by the State of Idaho and the cabins and other improvements on the land are owned by the leaseholders as personal property. The current leaseholders applied to participate in the auction.

Two of the lots had competitive bidding and the winning bidders were not the current lessees. Those lots sold for a combined $54,500 over appraised value. The winning bidders separately must pay the lessees for the appraised value of their cabins and other improvements.

Under the direction of the State Board of Land Commissioners (Land Board), IDL manages more than 2.4 million acres of state endowment trust land under a constitutional mandate to maximize long term financial returns to public schools and a number of other State of Idaho institutions. 

The Land Board is comprised of Idaho’s governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state controller, and superintendent of public instruction.

In 2010, the Land Board approved a plan to divest the state’s ownership of most cottage sites at both lakes over time in order to reinvest the proceeds into assets that generate higher returns than the rent from the lots.

In February 2016, the Land Board approved a plan that enables remaining lessees of residential cottage sites at Priest Lake and Payette Lake to participate in auctions of the lots they lease before the end of 2019. Additionally, IDL will be auctioning un-leased lots at both lakes over the next few years. 

Including Friday’s auction, 276 cottage sites have been sold – 145 lots at Priest Lake (133 leased and 12 un-leased) and 131 lots at Payette Lake (115 leased and 16 un-leased) – for a total of approximately $120,183,109 for the endowments.

The funds from the land sales will be deposited in the “Land Bank” and used to purchase other lands in Idaho or they may go into a Permanent Fund, in order to continue earning returns for the endowment beneficiaries.

In May 2016, the Land Board approved the Strategic Reinvestment Plan and will consider strategic acquisitions of timberland and, on a more limited basis, farmland with the proceeds from the sale of cottage sites and commercial properties.

Timber sale auction. (KAMIAH) – The State of Idaho auctioned another U.S. Forest Service timber sale Friday as part of a State-federal partnership to increase management activities on federal lands in Idaho.

The Woodrat Salvage Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is Idaho’s second project developed under Good Neighbor Authority (GNA), a federal law that enables the Forest Service to partner with the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) to achieve restoration and resilient landscape objectives across ownership boundaries in Idaho. 

Idaho Forest Group submitted the winning bid to purchase the Woodrat Salvage Sale, which will treat 345 acres by removing dead and dying burned timber and planting new trees. The final net value of the timber sale contract is $2,184,003. There were two bidders, resulting in the final net bid amount coming in $1,088,825.20 over the appraised price.

The project’s purpose is fuel reduction, economic recovery, and ecosystem restoration following the fires of 2015. It will generate an estimated 7.1 million board feet of timber, and new trees will be planted.

Forest Service personnel completed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, making the sale possible using GNA. Following the evaluation and decision, Forest Service personnel worked closely with IDL to complete all necessary sale preparation activities, including unit layout and tree marking and cruising.

The Forest Service awarded a separate contract to implement road reconstruction, which is necessary to make the roads suitable for log-haul and public traffic. The reconstruction work will assure water quality protection and primarily involves replacing failing culverts and making the road drainage system fully functional.

“In August of 2015, firefighters from IDL and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests fought the Woodrat fire alongside each other and I am pleased that we can continue to work together implementing this important post-fire salvage sale project,” Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Cheryl Probert said. “The money from this sale will go back into projects such as aquatics restoration, data collection, reforestation, and other work in the Clearwater and lower Salmon basins."

Timber harvesting on the Woodrat Salvage Sale could start within a few weeks of the sale.

“The Idaho Department of Lands forestry professionals are well equipped to support efforts to increase the pace and scale of forest management on federal forests in Idaho. This is because of their extensive knowledge of timber sale preparation and administration and their familiarity with the forest conditions on federal lands in need of treatment,” IDL Director Tom Schultz said. “Good Neighbor Authority projects in Idaho are starting to take off. This broad effort will result in healthier landscapes, reduced wildfire risk, increased economic activity and other benefits for Idaho.”

Today’s timber sale auction and other planned GNA projects elsewhere in Idaho are the result of more than two years of work between the State of Idaho, Forest Service, timber companies, and other partners. The goal of GNA is to increase the pace and scale of forest and watershed restoration activities on national forests in Idaho.

Additional information about GNA efforts in Idaho is available on the IDL web site here.