Auction Gavel Will Fall Today on Priest Lake Cabin Sites


Today marks the beginning of the end for dozens of North Idaho residents who have been leasing land from the state, some for 40 years or more.

Following a similar auction this past April, when the Idaho Department of Lands auctioned off 21 cabin sites along Payette Lake near McCall, the state will now bring its auction hammer to 61 sites on Priest Lake.

After years of often contentious debate between cabin owners and the state, which owns the land beneath the cabins, the Land Board voted in 2010 to divest its ownership of most of the lots. State officials argued that leases had been kept unreasonably low, while cabin owners begged for a slow and reasonable adjustment to appropriate market values for the land. From the outside, much of the state saw missed opportunities by not managing its assets to produce higher returns; but from the inside, owners openly worried about keeping their idyllic views.

A number of families who have been vacationing or even living on the North Idaho sites have already indicated that this may be their last Labor Day weekend there.

"We as a family have all come to the realization that this could be our last trip," Brad Depew told KHQ-TV. "It's been kind of excrutiating for my parents. I guess that's the upside, all of this coming to an end in the long term, but in the end, we're losing a family jewel so to speak."

Today's auction is set for 1 p.m. at the Coeur d'Alene Resort.