Minam State Park increases in size

By By Katy Nesbitt The Observer July 11, 2012 01:54 pm

The Minam State Park increased in size this winter when the Oregon State Parks Commission approved the purchase of 2.2 acres from Western Rivers Conservancy.

Now the land from the boat launch at the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa rivers all the way to the Minam Campground is owned by the state.

The property had long been an interest of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, but getting the money together was proving difficult.

Two years ago in September of 2010, Western Rivers stepped in to try and purchase the property at its asking price of $244,000, possibly the most expensive land in the entire county at an average of $122,000 an acre. The deal closed March 24, 2011.

Even before the ink was dry on the land sale, Lottie and Grant Ritchie purchased the Minam Store, a raft rental and shuttle business, and agreed to lease the land from Western Rivers. The state continues to honor the lease through its acquisition of the property.

The state parks commission said that site has cultural resource and archeological significance and tribal influence was another factor in their desire to purchase the property. In addition, the site provides for unrestricted access to the river year-round.

A May 20, 2011, appraisal was completed by Jack Waldemarson with an estimated market value of $244,000. A review of the appraisal was completed by Oregon Parks and Recreation with a supportable conclusion of value. An environmental report was completed on the site and was reviewed and accepted by staff as well as a building inspection and well test.

The commission approved the purchase at its January meeting and the deal was wrapped up with Western Rivers shortly afterward. No press release was issued at the time the sale was completed.