Mountain Springs Ranch, owned by Mary Hewlett Jaffe, the daughter of Hewlett-Packard founder William Hewlett, has appealed the grazing lease auction the ranch lost to Idaho Watersheds Project on September 9, 1999.
Readers will recall that the ranch bid $200 for 2560 acres of Idaho school endowment land grazing leases within the 100,000 acre Mountain Springs allotment located on BLM land in the East Fork of the Salmon River watershed in central Idaho. Idaho Watersheds Project won the auction with a bid of $1,200. The grazing lease includes critical habitat streams for chinook salmon and ocean run steelhead trout which have been historically abused by cattle.
The ranch, which is the largest public lands ranching operation in central Idaho, has listed four reasons for its appeal: 1. "The costs of the lease are too high"; 2. "Inadequate competitive bids"; 3. "Devaluation of other school trust leased lands in the allotment"; 4. "The ranch's positive historical range management practices".
IWP will leave to readers to ponder the fullness of this appeal and how the Idaho Land Board will likely respond.
IWP anticipates that the Idaho Land Board will address this appeal at its next regular meeting in ten days although it may be delayed until the November meeting when the Board can consider the results of other auctions in which IWP has been a participant.