Ire-inspiring gravel-pit parcel doesn’t sell in Utah trust land auction

Three tracts go to current leaseholders, but Teasdale lot proposed for gravel pit doesn’t sell.<br>

This 120-acre parcel outside Teasdale, once proposed for a gravel operation, failed to sell at auction Nov. 15 at the Salt Lake City headquarters of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Other offered parcels sold for their minimum bids to their current leaseholders. Photo courtesy of SITLA.

Wednesday’s auction of Utah trust parcels proved a dull affair, reaping hardly $1 million for the school trust fund.

Three of the four trust lands parcels on the block sold for their minimum bids to their current leaseholders, while the fourth, on the edge of Teasdale, did not attract the minimum bid of $790,000. A donated 79-acre parcel in the Iron County town of Enoch sold for $213,000, slightly above its minimum bid.

Recent auctions held by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) have fetched million-dollar bids for scenic parcels on the edges of national monuments and parks, but Wednesday’s offerings didn’t generate competitive bidding.

The most interesting parcel didn’t even sell, potentially reopening a simmering land-use dispute in Wayne County over a proposed gravel pit.

SITLA had contracted with a local road builder to mine sand and gravel from the parcel on a wind-swept rise between the historic ranching towns of Teasdale and Torrey. Many locals pushed back, filing a lawsuit that said there were irregularities in zoning enforcement.

The matter seemed to be resolved when SITLA canceled the contract and decided to auction the 120-acre parcel, held in trust for the Utah School for the Deaf. A sale would generate far more revenue than a gravel operation, but the minimum bid of $6,600 an acre may have scared off would-be buyers.

SILTA officials are not sure whether to make this parcel available at the next auction in six months.

Indian Head Ranch bought two offerings near Emma Park Road in the southeastern corner of Utah County, just south of Ashley National Forest. The ranch paid $550,000 for a 640-acre section and two 40-acre parcels, which hold potential for big-game hunting.

Escalante Farms paid $279,000 for 630 acres of irrigated farmland 7 miles east of Modena in the Escalante Valley.

SITLA has listed parcels that it plans to offer at future auctions, including a 519-acre lot just south of Cannonville, with Yellow Creek running bordered on three sides by Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

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