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Valley Co. Commission comes out against auction of Cougar Island in Payette Lake


The Valley County Commission has come out against a plan by the Idaho Department of lands to auction a Payette Lake island.

The commission finished crafting a letter to the Idaho Department of Lands outlining its opposition to a process to auction the 14-acre Cougar Island. IDL hired Corbett-Bottles Real Estate Auctions to sell the five lots on the land, as BoiseDev reported last week.

“We do not support auctioning the endowment lands,” commissioner Sherry Maupin said during a public hearing Monday in Cascade. “This (letter) has also gone through United Payette since we are also in partnership with them on all of those easements.”

The commissioners said they didn’t take issue with other cottage site sales around the lake outside McCall, which have been ongoing for the better part of a decade. But Cougar Island is a different story.

“Cougar Island is what we are really concerned about,” commissioner Edgar Allen said. “Looking long term at Valley County, it’s just not a good thing to happen. Cougar Island is a gem of Payette Lake.”

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Part of cottage site auctions

The process was triggered when an existing homeowner on the island asked the state to auction the property under the home. Private parties own the structures on state endowment lands around Payette Lake – but lease the property from the state. The house alone has been listed for sale, including in 2013.

The Voluntary Auction for Ownership process outlined by the Idaho Land Board allows those cottage site lessees to ask for the site to go to an open public auction. The auction process allows for the land and building to be united under one common ownership.

After the request, IDL decided to look at auctioning not just the one cottage site on the island – but the entire island. Each parcel will be auctioned individually, and then a separate auction will be held for the whole island. If the whole island auction fetched a higher price than the sum total of the individual parcel auctions, one bidder could get the entire thing.

The Idaho Department of Lands has not yet set an auction date for Cougar Island. An effort to put the island on the block was previously called off in 2020.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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