News & Events

Cougar Island Update



Threat. The sale of Cougar Island poses the threat of privatization and development, which would diminish the viewsheds on the lake, end historic use enjoyed by generations, threaten water quality in Payette Lake and downstream waters, and disturb wildlife in the ecosystem that includes the island.

Conservation Goal. PLT/UP desire to conserve Cougar Island in its current state and preclude further development in perpetuity. If successful, we will:

  • Protect the conservation values and the integrity of the island.
  • Extinguish development rights on undeveloped land.
  • Steward the conservation values and the integrity of the island, allowing limited public access.
  • Reserve the right to curtail public access if overuse or degradation occurs.

Independent Parcel Acquisition Strategy and Justification

The ultimate goal is to conserve the entire Island. If we raise sufficient funding to meet the new appraisal amounts, we will bid for the entire island. Otherwise, we will seek to purchase individual parcels as funding allows. PLT has determined to try to pursue the following lot acquisition strategy:

  • PLT will bid on Lots 1, 4 and 5 if sufficient funds are raised, this would achieve the most conservation of land and shoreline in a cost-effective manner.
  • PLT will bid on two contiguous parcels, Lots 1 and 5 if funds raised support fewer than three lot acquisitions because PLT deems this the minimum for conservation to be effective.
  • PLT has determined that owning a single parcel would be ineffective in achieving meaningful conservation. Public access on a limited footprint could cause harm and place a significant burden on PLT resources. PLT also believes the State would reject the bid.

Funding Requirements (Land and Stewardship)

Land: The collective appraised value of the Lots on the West side is $4.2 million. PLT/UP has currently raised $1.2 million, leaving a need of $3 million to conserve the majority of Cougar Island. We need: 6 pledges of $500,000, or 3 pledges of $500,000 and 6 pledges of $250,000 (etc.)

PLT Stewardship Donation: Fee-title land management in perpetuity requires a 5% of value donation to fund a pooled endowment to be used for stewardship and legal defense of the conservation values on PLT owned property. Stewardship includes property management, taxes and oversight.

Bidding at Auction: PLT will bid until it acquires the minimum of two contiguous parcels and then until the maximum amount of pledged funds are exhausted. If PLT’s expense is lower than the total dollars pledged, pledges will be collected on a pro rata basis.

Donations and Pledges: Donations of cash, check or appreciated stock should be made to PLT and are tax deductible. Donors can designate contributions to the Cougar Island project or other work. Donations will be pooled along with other funding to achieve our goal. PLT honors “Donor Intent.” PLT will work with Donors to determine the intent of the donation should the auction fail or if excess funds are raised. Pledges should be made by completing the Cougar Island Pledge Form.

Accounting: PLT is an accredited Land Trust and follows GAAP accounting principles. PLT maintains a separate project bank account as a firewall from its general funds. PLT works with Edward Jones to accept appreciated stock donations helping to limit capital gains and maximized legal tax deductions.
Ask PLT for details.

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