September 12, 2010 in Outdoors

Recognizing the quality of Upper Priest

By The Spokesman-Review

Conservation groups have stepped up to preserve the qualities so many people enjoy at Upper Priest, said Bob Harwood, a lakeshore property owner and member of the Selkirk Conservation Alliance.

“When we first visited the upper lake in the early 1960s, there was a ‘lots for sale’ sign at the Geisinger Campground beach (where The Thorofare opens into Upper Priest Lake).

“The Nature Conservancy investigated and discovered that the widow who owned the property needed the income. So the conservancy worked out a deal that guaranteed her a lifetime income in exchange for the land, which was eventually transferred over to the Forest Service and state of Idaho.”

The five small parcels of private land totaled about 420 acres on Upper Priest Lake, the Idaho Panhandle National Forest website says, noting that the Forest Service purchased the tracts in 1967 with the assistance of The Nature Conservancy.

That deal secured the entire shoreline of Upper Priest Lake as public land, paving the way for federal designation and protection as the Upper Priest Lake Scenic Area.

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