Let the bidding begin on an estimated 20 acres of prime undeveloped U.S. Forest Service land in the Animas Valley.
A few years ago, the Forest Service announced its intent to sell the mostly vacant property, about 8 miles north of Durango at 373 Trimble Lane behind the Trimble True Value hardware store.
Mark Lambert with the Forest Service told La Plata County commissioners last week that bidding went live June 13.
The starting bid, it appears, is $50,000. As of Friday, no one had bid on the property, which is listed at https://bit.ly/2XzGnox.
According to federal documents, the land is not connected to the national forest land system, nor of use to the agency for administrative purposes. The property is an old, long-vacant horse pasture with few structures and is surrounded by luxury subdivisions and a golf course.
Lambert told commissioners money from the sale will be used to pay for a new office complex for the Columbine District Ranger Station in Bayfield.
Because the land has been federally exempt all these years, it has not been appraised and its value is unclear.
Land sales on adjacent properties, however, show just how valuable undeveloped parcels in the Animas Valley are.
In 2007, Trimble Crossing paid $5.5 million for 4 acres on the corner of Trimble Lane and U.S. Highway 550. In a sale adjacent to the area, a vacant piece of land sold for $1.4 million in 2008.
“That gives you a little bit of an idea what land values in that area would garner,” La Plata County Assessor Carrie Woodson said in a previous interview. “It’s really prime for a subdivision, but they’d need a Class 2 land-use permit to do that.”
A public comment period on the proposed sale generated few opinions, save for one or two neighbors concerned with density and traffic. The Forest Service responded by saying those factors would be handled by La Plata County during the county permitting process.
Attempts to reach the Columbine District Ranger Station to talk about plans for the new complex were not successful.