North Idaho

Priest Lake cabin owners must pay up or move out

PRIEST LAKE, Idaho - It's known as the "Crown Jewel of North Idaho," but for some Priest Lake cabin owners it's going to cost a pretty penny to stay on their state-leased waterfront property.

The state owns 354 lots on Priest Lake and now Idaho is nearly doubling the amount of those leases. On average, cabin owners will pay 84-percent more next year for their land lease.

The state said the rates went up because they recently re-appraised the land. This has people furious. Some people whose families have vacationed there for decades said they won't be able to afford the rising lease costs and this may force them out of Priest Lake.

Homeowners on Priest Lake must pay up or move out

"It's heartbreaking for our children especially because it's their future. I have had 50 or 60 something years up there," Sue Daniewicz, who owns a cabin at Priest Lake, said.

Idaho State Department of Lands estimates up to 30-percent of existing lease holders will walk away from their leases because of the increase.

Another issue is that Idaho is now entering into the competitive bidding world, meaning someone can come in and outbid a current lessee. The state said it doesn't expect many conflict of lease situations, but it could happen.

Leasees have until April 30 to apply for next year's lease.