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Huckleberries Online

Mon., April 8, 2013, 3 p.m.

Priest Lake cabin owners face costly dilemma

The view from a Priest Lake cabin, which sits on land leased from the state of Idaho.  (Colin Mulvany)
The view from a Priest Lake cabin, which sits on land leased from the state of Idaho. (Colin Mulvany)

The view in July from Jim and Myrna Brown’s Priest Lake cabin, which sits on land leased from the state of Idaho. The Browns’ summer cabin is one of hundreds that could be affected by a recent court ruling that allows competitive bidding for the coveted cottage lease sites.

For the first time ever, the state of Idaho is opening up every state-owned cabin site on Priest Lake to conflict bidding – meaning others could bid against the current cabin owners when the 354 leases come up Dec. 31.

At the same time, new state-commissioned appraisals have come in a whopping 84 percent higher for next year for the land values on the state lots, which are used to calculate annual rents. Some Priest Lake cabin owners who were in the midst of negotiating for land exchanges to get ownership of the land under their cabins now are finding out they can’t afford it.

“It will have an effect,” said state Lands Director Tom Schultz. He’s guessing that anywhere from 8 percent to 30 percent of the 354 Priest Lake cabin owners may default on their leases, walking away from cabins that in some cases have been in their families for generations. Full story. Betsy Russell, SR

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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.