Buttle Creek Ranch
Siskiyou County, California
Located in the Klamath National Forest, this 3,600-acre ranch has been owned by the same family for over 160 years, and historically was used for summer grazing and timber production. The owners wanted to protect the pristine natural beauty of this family heirloom, but needed to provide funding for ranch operations and retirement for the senior generation. The Pacific Forest Trust (PCT) assisted in securing the sale of a conservation easement to the State of California for less than fair market value, then engaged LandVest to provide an appraisal substantiating the value of the conservation easement for the purpose of securing project funding.
LandVest determined that the highest and best use of the property, both prior to and subsequent to the easement encumbrance, consisted of three integrated uses, including merchantable timber production, livestock grazing, and recreational use oriented around Butte Creek, a Class I trout stream and fishery. Based on both a comparative analysis of land sales with similar uses, and an income analysis that included sophisticated timber growth and yield modelling, LandVest was able to support both the pre-easement and post-easement market values, with the difference between these two values representing the market value of the easement rights.
Subsequent to LandVest’s appraisal, the bargain acquisition price was fully funded and the easement conveyed to the State of California. The owners then engaged LandVest to prepare an IRS qualified appraisal substantiating the value of the tax deductible charitable donation associated with the bargain sale of the easement.
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