Idaho is down to just 51 state-owned cottage sites at Payette Lake after six years of auctions. The state has now sold 262 of its state-owned lake cabin sites at Payette and Priest lakes combined, and has 261 left between the two lakes, state Lands Director Tom Schultz reported to the state Land Board this morning. “So we are just over 50 percent of the way through disposing of the different cottage sites,” Schultz said.
Idaho has been phasing itself out of the business of renting state-owned cabin sites, on which the renters built and owned their own cabins, sometimes for generations, after years of lawsuits and fights over what constitutes fair rent. The state’s plan is to reinvest the proceeds from the sales into higher-earning land investments for the endowment, including timber land.
The state has auctioned off 117 cabin sites at Payette Lake and 145 at Priest Lake; five of those are still closing at Priest Lake after the last auction. That leaves 210 state-owned cabin sites at Priest Lake, and just 51 at Payette Lake.
In 2017, more auctions are planned. So far, the Lands Department has received applications for auction from 14 cottage site lessees at Payette Lake, and 58 at Priest Lake.
Earnings from Idaho’s state endowment largely benefit the state’s public schools; smaller portions go to state institutions including universities, mental hospitals and prisons.