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San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust
Nonprofit Organization 501(C)(3)
Tax ID # 33-0700417                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

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Media Contacts:

Polly Sauer  
Telephone: 909-806-5284  
Email: [email protected]  



Land Trust Announces Purchase of 80-acre Eagle Ridge Property

Thursday April 14, 2011

An 80-acre portion of the Eagle Ridge property in Lake Arrowhead, which went into default in October 2008, was purchased Wednesday afternoon by the SBMLT FOREST LAND LLC, a subsidiary of the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust.

“This property was not something the Land Trust had considered buying at first,” said President Bill Engs, “at least not before receiving an unexpected contact from a real estate office connected with the owners.”

“It appears that the defaulted 80 acres had failed to attract any of the usual buyers of development property,” said SBMLT’s Projects Manager, Kevin Kellems. “Inquiries went out to land conservancies, and SBMLT was invited to make an offer.”

“The invitation was what prompted us to look at this land as a serious acquisition prospect,” said Engs.

Three promising factors attracted the Land Trust: 1) The property had formerly been public land but got traded away in an unpopular land exchange; 2) The site is the last remaining large area of natural open space left in the Lake Arrowhead area; and 3) The community in the past showed a strong interest in saving the land for public use.

Land Trust staff carefully inspected the extent of landscape disturbance caused by the unfinished construction work in the 5-acre entrance area. After extensive evaluation, it was decided a purchase would provide a unique opportunity for the community of Lake Arrowhead to consider some new form of public open space or recreational use for the site.

After suspending a potential deal on land in a remote backcountry area, SBMLT entered into a purchase agreement with a consortium of banks that held title to the foreclosed property.

Normally the principal role of the Land Trust is to help enhance the natural conservation land base of our local National Forest. Private land holdings are most often purchased in wildland areas, where they readily qualify for re-sale to the National Forest. They are bought by SBMLT with a revolving acquisition fund that is later replenished upon each re-sale to the Forest Service. The replenished acquisition fund is then recycled into the next conservation purchase.

However, with the Eagle Ridge property, the Land Trust will seek a different conservation buyer, since the land is not Forest Service qualified. While the Land Trust has some potential ideas, it will confer with the community for assistance, input and suggestions in finding the best eventual owner of the property for the greatest public benefit.