Utah School Land Trust to sell unprofitable 8,000 acre block near Powder Mountain
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8,107-acre tract of state-owned land in northern Utah is about to be auctioned off, marking Utah School and Institutional Trust’s largest land sale in history Lands Administration, or SITLA.
Created in 1994, this agency manages 3.4 million hectares of land for the benefit of public education. He decided that the best way to “optimize” the income from the Cinnamon Creek block is to sell it, with a minimum bid set at $ 19.5 million. SITLA will begin accepting sealed offers online on November 9 for the plot straddling the Weber-Cache County line near Powder Mountain Resort and Porcupine Reservoir.
The agency was not invited by anyone to put the land up for sale as is the case with most of SITLA’s land sales, according to spokeswoman Marla Kennedy. Rather, the decision to sell depended on the soaring prices that Western real estate is currently achieving and the meager income the land generates from cattle grazing.
“We have thought about selling this block in the past and recently had it appraised,” said Kennedy, who recently joined SITLA as communications director. “We were happy with what he rated and believe he will sell for a lot more. This particular coin generated just over $ 19,000 in revenue in 2020. You can see why this would be a big sale for SITLA and its beneficiaries. Interest [on the sale proceeds] would be considerably higher than the income it currently generates.
Nestled in the Bear River Range, the forested area includes canyons, ridges and mountain peaks with elevations ranging from 5,787 feet to 8,028 feet above sea level with slopes ranging from level to very steep, according to SITLA. The land offers “excellent recreational opportunities and supports abundant resources of wildlife, timber and domestic livestock grazing,” the agency says on its website.
This land is zoned for “forest recreation” with a minimum area of 40 acres.
The block is completely surrounded by private land, with the exception of a state-owned wildlife management area on its western border, SITLA resource specialist Ben Stireman told Cache County Council during its August 24 meeting. Cinnamon Creek crosses the property and empties into the Porcupine Reservoir.
While the sale would add significantly to the property tax base of the two counties, Cache council members have raised concerns about the potential of the sale to disrupt the pastures and county roads that cross the plot. . Stireman said counties have until Sept. 17 to submit road claims, which are expected to be resolved before the auction.
“For me, I think the initial reaction to something like this is a sense of loss if it becomes private and any permitted public use is then restricted,” Board member Gina Worthen said in a text. “But it’s important to remember that this land was held in trust specifically for the benefit of public education.”
Under state law, SITLA is obligated to manage these assets in a manner that maximizes the income of the state’s public education trust fund. Increasingly, much to the dismay of some rural county commissioners, this means lucrative sales and real estate development at the expense of longtime grazing license holders.
Currently, breeder Marlon Bingham and TK Swan Land hold grazing permits on Cinnamon Creek. These permits will be canceled once the land is sold, but that does not necessarily mean that the new owner would evict the livestock operations.
SITLA typically holds auctions twice a year, where it sells multiple plots, but typically few are larger than a single 640-acre section. Cinnamon Creek is managed with its own auction. SITLA’s next sale begins on September 8, when it accepts sealed offers on 10 plots totaling approximately 4,000 acres.
The agency ran its own live auctions with public auctions once the sealed bids opened. Due to the pandemic, it switched to online sale on Energy.net. They may not be as fun or transparent as live auctions, but online sales have resulted in better prices and reduced the chances of bidders colluding, according to Kennedy.
SITLA has raised more than $ 2 billion for a public education foundation, which now pays approximately $ 100 million a year to Utah schools.