On Thursday, September 9, 1999 in Idaho Falls, Idaho Watersheds Project won yet another school trust land grazing lease auction. The auction was held to determine what party would have the right to a ten year grazing lease on 2560 acres of Idaho school endowment land located in Custer County, Idaho. The lease consists of four separate 640 acre sections within 100,000 acres of BLM managed lands which are permitted for livestock grazing to the Mountain Springs Ranch which is owned by Mary Hewlett Jaffe, the daughter of William Hewlett, the co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Corporation.
The ranch manager, Shane Rosenkrance, opened the bidding with a bid of $200. IWP responded with a bid of $1,200. and the auction ended when the ranch did not counter with a bid.
Ranch Manager Rosenkrance stated to Jennifer Langston, the environmental reporter of the Idaho Falls Post-Register (www.idahonews.com) that the ranch could not afford to pay more than $1,000 at the auction ! He declined to state whether the ranch would appeal the auction results to the Idaho Land Board. IWP President, Jon Marvel, predicted to the local TV cameras that the ranch would appeal the auction within the 20 day appeal period.
IWP provided the first year's lease payment ($882.00) and the auction bid amount ($1,200.) to the Department of Lands, and also provided a management plan which stated that IWP would operate the leases under an exchange of use agreement with the BLM which would result in zero AUMs being available on the four sections of the school land lease.
IWP believes that this auction will probably be overturned by the Land Board for the usual political reasons; however, because of IWP's victories at the Idaho Supreme Court in April 1999, it will be very difficult for the Land Board to justify accepting the low bid yet again. If they do, IWP will contest the action in court.
Thanks to Jon Bolstad, Jackie Maughan, Ted Chu, and Anne Mier for attending the auction.