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Eye On Boise

State endowment to acquire Maggie Butte timber land from Potlatch east of Kamiah

Idaho’s state Land Board voted unanimously today to acquire a nearly 2,400-acre tract of timber land at Maggie Butte, 10 miles east of Kamiah, from Potlatch Corp. for the state’s public school endowment. The $2.5 million to purchase the land comes from the endowment’s land bank, which holds proceeds from sales of state endowment lands including cabin sites.

State Lands Department officials and consultants estimated that the timber land will bring the endowment an annual return, long term, of around 5.5 percent.

“Although Potlatch has conducted many harvests on this property, a silvicultural operation to put this property back into a fully stocked condition would yield fully harvestable timber in 20-40 years,” Ryan Montoya, real estate services manager for the department, told the Land Board. “This factor is recognized in the financial analysis where there are merchantable stands that could yield returns immediately, and thereafter as management continues. Thus, the acquisition reduces the risks involved with the property and also provides for immediate and sustainable income.”

The department likely would log the existing mature stands in five years, he said; and the rest of the property in 20 to 40 years.

State Controller Brandon Woolf thanked Montoya and state Lands Director Tom Schultz, saying the purchase “hits on perfectly what we worked on” as far as the state’s plan for reinvesting in endowment lands, including reviews by outside experts. “It’s great to see this working the right way,” he said.

The property is in Idaho County. Montoya said lands officials met with county commissioners there and there was no opposition to the purchase.

The land is adjacent to other public school endowment land, and also to land owned by the state hospital endowment, and would ease both management of and access to the existing endowment lands, Montoya said. 

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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