The Daily Courier has reported that ongoing discussions are emerging between Navajo Nation and the property owners of Yavapai Ranch. Navajo Nation allegedly wants to buy 17,544 acres in the western region of the 100,000 plus acre ranch, which is estimated to be worth $60 million.
Yavapai Ranch is situated 13 miles south of the Seligman and 40 miles north of Prescott. Even though these negotiations has sparked the interest of the media, Yavapai Ranch’s manager stated that the sale of the land is being discussed continuously by different groups of prospective buyers.
Some fast facts include that the land was approved for planned area development by the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors. Other lucrative incentives for buying include the abundance of Ponderosa pine, which can be tendered for timber. There are additionally 20 wells on site which aren’t governed by public water utility companies. Moreover, potential buyers are more than likely to receive exclusive mineral rights following a successful sale and transfer of the title.
According to the Daily Courier, the Yavapai Ranch accounts for the biggest parcel of checkerboard land, and it’s shared with the Prescott National Forest. As a result of this, new buyers are able to swap parcels for national forest property in other parts of the state.
Despite the negotiations, the president has stated that he wants to preserve as much of the land for public recreation, as parcels on the West Side are usually used for fishing and gaming of antelopes.
After several evaluations, the potential for logging is said to be unfeasible after a wildfire burned through much of the land roughly 20 years ago. A lead mine was also identified, but researchers found no valuable minerals on the property. However, Navajo Nation Council vice chair, Benjamin Bennet, disagrees. He pointed out that water is an invaluable mineral but declined to comment if this was the main reason for interest in the property.
Bennet believes that new opportunities must be sought out by the Nation following the shutdown of the local generating station several years ago. He indicated that the land purchase could be potentially utilized for commercial development or land exchange but thinks the estimated value is inflated due to its current livestock use.
The co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, Robin Silver, agrees and said that some considerations to weigh before agreeing to buy the land are the potential challenges to get federal easements. Silver is also concerned about the implications of water development on the land as it relates to the upper Verde River.
Discussions are set to resume on July 27th.
Contact the Navajo Post Below.