(Update: Reaction from, status of Save Skyline Forest effort)
That's down from the original $127 million asking price set in 2019 for vast tract west of Bend
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The vast, 33,000-acre Bull Springs Skyline Forest west of Bend has been on the sales block for close to three years, at a daunting price. So the private owners announced Monday a dramatic, 25% price drop -- to "just" $95 million.
The privately held tree farm that makes up much of the Bend area's prized mountain-capped view to the west is one of the largest contiguous properties in the Northwest, and the continued uncertainty over its fate earlier this year sparked a Save Skyline Forest public campaign, led by Central Oregon LandWatch.
Just last month, the current owners, Bend-based Shanda Asset Management LLC, closed off public access due to extreme fire conditions, to curb the risk of human-caused fires.
The Save Skyline Forest efforts are going well, according to Caitlyn Burford, communications and outreach manager for Central Oregon LandWatch.
"We are seeing a lot of community interest in and support for finding a conservation solution for this 50-square-mile landscape," she said Tuesday. "Right now, over 800 residents have signed on to this community letter to local elected officials, asking Representative Kropf, Commissioner Chang, the City of Bend’s Mayor and City Councilors to “find a conservation-focused acquisition and management solution for Skyline Forest.”
In response to the recent drop in the sale price, COLW Executive Director Ben Gordon said, “Seeing the price of Skyline Forest reduced by 25% is a good sign."
"LandWatch was concerned that the high initial asking price was dependent on speculative large-scale luxury development interests," Gordon said. "This remains one of our greatest concerns for the future of this property and how it could negatively impact wildlife, water, and outdoor access for the public, in addition to concerns over wildfire safety. As the price comes down, it better reflects the real value of this property and opens up more opportunities for the community to find creative ways to acquire and protect it."
The sales brokers, Mason & Morse Ranch Company, said Monday the property is now listed for $95 million, or about $2,900 an acre.
Here's their announcement, in full:
Bull Springs Skyline Forest, located just minutes west of Bend, is an active privately held tree farm and recreational wilderness covering 33,000 contiguous, deeded acres bordering the Deschutes National Forest.
“Once you lay eyes on Bull Springs Skyline Forest, you will agree that it is unquestionably one of the most beautiful blocks of contiguous timberland, not only in Oregon, but, in the entire western United States,” said Robb Van Pelt, founding partner of Mason & Morse Ranch Company.
“The price reduction will further align potential buyer interests with the seller’s objectives,” Van Pelt continued.
The property has a long history of stewardship dating back to 1916, when Shevlin-Hixon and Brooks-Scanlon opened their logging camps for production. The first Shevlin-Hixon Logging camp was placed at Bull Springs, which was active until 1946.
Since that time, the forest has been owned by a variety of logging companies and portions exchanged with the U.S. Forest Service.
In recent years, the property has become of major interest to the surrounding community of Bend, Oregon, conservation groups, land planners and developers who are interested in working together to balance its valuable attributes that ascend across private ownership, forest management, community recreation, government legislation and the westerly urban expansion of Bend, Oregon.
The current zoning is F1 Forest Use. The Deschutes County F1 Forest Use Zone is intended to conserve forestlands with a minimum 240-acre parcel size.
Potentially rezoning through Oregon’s Destination Resort designation as a cluster development has become a popular balance between sustainable forest management, recreational open space, and urban expansion and could be a viable sustainable development opportunity, as the area continues to see significant population growth F1 Forest Use Zone permitted uses include forest operations or forest practices, provisions for wildlife and fishery resources, and other farm uses.
Conditional uses permitted include private hunting and fishing, private parks and campgrounds and single-family dwellings.
Bull Springs Skyline Forest combines productive timberlands, conservation and development opportunities together with privacy. The property is one of the largest contiguous parcels in the western United States, with stunning views and abundant wildlife just minutes from Bend, Oregon.
“Mason & Morse Ranch Company has been fortunate enough to list and sell some of the finest American farms, ranches and recreational lands across the country,” said Bart Miller, Managing Broker of Mason & Morse Ranch Company. “Bull Springs Skyline Forest is one of America’s legacy properties without question. We want to find the right buyer who recognizes the property’s attributes and values the history of the property in the community.”
About Mason & Morse Ranch Company
A leading provider of land brokerage services across the American west. Services include traditional brokerage and auction. With roots dating back to 1961 in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen, Colorado, the company specializes in marketing high-value and large acreage farm, ranch and recreational land properties. Combined, Mason & Morse Ranch Company agents offer clients more than 133 years of experience in real estate land sales. http://www.ranchland.com