Bureau of Land Management eyes buying scenic Tahoe parcel

INCLINE VILLAGE - The largest private land holding on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe would be acquired for $75 million under a public buyout being considered by federal land managers.

The Bureau of Land Management is considering purchase of the 777-acre parcel that features scenic Incline Lake. It's located near the Mount Rose Summit above Incline Village on Tahoe's northeast shore.

The property would offer significant recreational opportunities to the public, said Jacques Etchegoyhen, a consultant for the owner, Incline Lake Corp.

"It's essentially national-park-quality land. It's a staggering piece of property," Etchegoyhen said. "This is an unbelievable opportunity for Nevada."

The purchase is among the latest round of proposed land deals under the federal Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998.

The act authorizes the purchase of environmentally sensitive land across Nevada with money raised from large sales of federal land in the Las Vegas area.

John Singlaub, executive director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, supports public acquisition of the property. His bistate agency is charged with protecting Tahoe's environment.

"It's a beautiful piece of land and the views from up there are outstanding," Singlaub said. "From Lake Tahoe's perspective, the idea of avoiding development up there is a good thing."

The property has been inaccessible to the public for more than 70 years since wealthy recluse George Whittell owned it. Five homes are located along the shores of Incline Lake.

Its acquisition has been a top priority of the U.S. Forest Service for decades. The property would be transferred to the Forest Service under the buyout proposal.

"This is probably the first and last time this property will be for sale, said Etchegoyhen, who's also a Douglas County commissioner. "I think it's the most important property that's ever been put" on the list under the federal land act.


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