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No changes on McCall’s Cougar Island after new conservation easement put in place

Cougar Island in McCall will stay unchanged with a new conservation deal, which follows an auction process earlier this fall.

Back in September, the Idaho Department of Lands held a public auction for five lots on Cougar Island where only one property received a bid. The bidder was the owner of the sole home on the island and the lessee of the over 2-acre lot, Jim Laski of Bellevue, Idaho. When sold, the land moved to private ownership.

Laski leased the land from the Idaho Department of Lands endowment but owned the house on the property House. As BoiseDev reported at the end of September, Laski listed the home and property for sale for $3,777,750. The listing is no longer up, and according to the Valley County Clerk’s Office, Laski closed on the home December 8.

Payette Land Trust paid Laski for a conservation easement that will limit commercial uses and future development of the 2.52- acre property. 

PLT has long been a part of the fight to conserve Cougar Island. The 14.21-acre island is the largest in Payette Lake and the property is part of the Idaho Land Endowment.

“While this is just one portion of the Island, we see this as a win, win, win,” Payette Land Trust Executive Director Craig Utter said. “This is a win for PLT, the members of United Payette Coalition, and area residents who have worked so diligently for the past year to conserve Cougar Island as it exists now. It’s a win for an Idaho family that wanted to own the land under their home, a home they have owned for over 10 years. It’s a win for the State Endowment, the sale will add over $2 million to the Endowment Fund.”

Because the remaining four lots did not sell, those remain in endowment ownership. 

PLT holds 13 conservation easements on private land and owns two additional properties.

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Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson - BoiseDev Reporter
Autum Robertson is a BoiseDev reporter focused on Meridian and McCall. Contact her at [email protected].

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