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Author Topic: PCT/Yodelin Land Sale  (Read 486 times)
bropka
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PCT/Yodelin Land Sale
« on: 11/20/17, 11:07 AM »

Interesting land deal going on up at Stevens.  This is something our newly formed CBA should have a stake in.
Seattle Times Article

The PCTA was going to purchase the land with a grant from the federal Land and Water Conservation (LWCF).  The LWCF was created by Congress and uses offshore oil and gas revenues to fund conservation projects.  However, the Forest Service raided their budget and diverted the project's funding to fight fires this year.  This meant that the PCTA had to secure a loan from The Conservation Fund (a New York based independent 501(c)3 organization) to finance the $1.6M sale.

Here is where it gets interesting... Once Congress replenishes LWCF funding, the PCTA will sell the land to the Forest Service at market value and repay its loan (from TCF).

I think it is great to keep access for the PCT but there are several financial questions not answered in the article:
1. What is the true market value here?
2. Will the PCTA keep the difference if the taxpayers end up paying more than $1.6M?
3. The parcels that were needed to protect access to the PCT were being offered as a separate group (78 acres) for $500,000.  Why buy the whole thing?
4. What kind of access improvements might we see?
5. Will the slide alder still be hideous?  Smiley

The owner had previously listed the 16 parcels at $2.1M in 2015 with the master plan targeting big development through the whole area.  Avalanche potential on either side of the valley is not disclosed of course.
Century Pacific, LP listing

Also of note should be that there is only one other privately held timber parcel on the east side between Stevens and Merritt and that is the recently logged section above Berne on Jim Hill Mountain.


* Yodelin_PCT_Sale_ST.jpg (230.11 KB, 640x640 - viewed 421 times.)
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kamtron
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Re: PCT/Yodelin Land Sale
« Reply #1 on: 11/20/17, 11:22 AM »

Good points brought up, I only have one comment:

5. Will the slide alder still be hideous?  Smiley

As a formerly East-coast based backcountry skier, I can think of a few ways to work on that. Work party next summer?
« Last Edit: 11/20/17, 11:37 AM by kamtron » Logged
CBAlliance
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WWW
Re: PCT/Yodelin Land Sale
« Reply #2 on: 11/20/17, 04:24 PM »

Interesting land deal going on up at Stevens.  This is something our newly formed CBA should have a stake in.

Thanks for the heads up, we will talk to the PCTA and see what they have in mind for the area, as well as the FS. Regarding the slide alder, the Granite Backcountry alliance has had some luck doing glading on the east coast. We can dream, but the FS generally frowns on tree cutting for funsies around here.
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Randy
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Re: PCT/Yodelin Land Sale
« Reply #3 on: 11/20/17, 09:25 PM »

Silde alder is irrelevant for backcountry skiers in this area.  The amount of snow needed to fill in the boulder fields will flatten the slide alder.

The bigger tree issue are the regrowth firs at bottom of slide paths coming off Skyline Ridge.  These FLTs can form a nearly impenetrable ticket that just gets taller and thicker every year.
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CBAlliance
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Re: PCT/Yodelin Land Sale
« Reply #4 on: 11/21/17, 11:32 AM »

1. What is the true market value here?
2. Will the PCTA keep the difference if the taxpayers end up paying more than $1.6M?
3. The parcels that were needed to protect access to the PCT were being offered as a separate group (78 acres) for $500,000.  Why buy the whole thing?
4. What kind of access improvements might we see?
5. Will the slide alder still be hideous?  Smiley

Let me try and answer a few questions for you directly now that we've looked into this.
1/2: The federal government defines market value as
"The amount in cash, or on terms reasonably equivalent to cash, for which in
all probability the property would have sold on the effective date of value, after a reasonable
exposure time on the open competitive market, from a willing and reasonably knowledgeable
seller to a willing and reasonably knowledgeable buyer, with neither acting under any
compulsion to buy or sell, giving due consideration to all available economic uses of the property."

That bit of headache-inducing word salad comes from the Uniform Federal Standards for Federal Land Acquisitions. Good luck reading that whole document if you want. This is what the FS uses to determine what to pay for land. You can read a FAQ sheet on LWCF purchases here.

If you look at the county records, the land sold for exactly $1,598,000. It seems pretty likely that this is what the FS will pay. The PCTA needs to cover their loan costs, so they need to sell, but the FS is the only entity they want to sell to. So everyone will converge on that number unless the FS does some separate assessment that uncovers something they won't buy (e.g. surprise superfund site).

3: The offer as written in the development proposal was for "a rare chance to purchase one of sixteen (16)
20-plus-acre recreational parcels or an entire 402-acre winter master plan opportunity." I'm pretty sure the PCTA would have purchased less of the land if possible.

4: We emailed the PCTA and asked. Generally, land the FS purchases is managed under the same master plan as the rest of the forest, so I suspect access will remain as it is.

It seems like this land deal is a good thing for the backcountry community. The land is theoretically changing hands from private property that we could easily be banned from to loosely managed public land under the FS. I will pass on any response I receive from the PCTA. If they indicate they are struggling to get  the public purchase to go through and might have to sell the land back to a developer, we will see how we can help. If they indicate that winter access will be somehow restricted, we will try and change that outcome.
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