Forever Wild makes offer on Farquhar

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 7, 2008

GREENSBORO &8212; More than half of the Farquhar State Cattle Ranch property was approved for purchase by the Alabama Forever Wild Land Trust board of trustees today during their quarterly meeting.

The Forever Wild board members approved to proceed with the purchase of two of the four parcels of the 3,988 acres of property after receiving a favorable second appraisal of the tracts during today&8217;s meeting. During last quarter&8217;s meeting the group decided to proceed with purchase of the land if the second appraisal equal to or less than the original appraisal was presented to the trust at which time an offer will be sent to Alabama Department of Corrections Commissioner Richard Allen for approval.

Forever Wild administrators said the completion of the sale could come quickly.

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Corbett said the sale of the property was put on hold after Forever Wild expressed interest, due to the tract&8217;s prairie habitat unique to the Black Belt region. ADOC Commissioner Richard Allen must accept an offer by the organization before the process is complete, and Corbett said the remaining two parcels of the property would be open for bids.

Sale background

Gov. Bob Riley and Allen announced their intention to sell the ranch and four other ALDOC properties at a July 11 press conference, stating only state lands that were a drain on taxpayers and had a previous interest expressed in their purchase would be sold.

After conflicting figures from the ranch and the ADOC shed doubt on the financial viability of the ranch, Rep. Ralph Howard, D-Greensboro, has worked to stop the sale and find ways to increase its profitability.

Riley and Allen said money generated by the sale of the ranch and the four other properties listed at the press conference would go toward the more than $90 million in capital improvement projects for Alabama Department of Corrections facilities.

Riley and Allen said originally said all property that will be sold will be appraised, advertised and sold to the highest bidder.

Forever Wild Background

FWLT was established in 1992 after a state constitutional amendment was passed by an 83-percent vote &8212; the largest margin of any land trust amendment in any southeastern state. The lands are managed under a multiple use management principle to ensure all resources &8212; including recreation, hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, aesthetics, soil, water, forests and minerals &8212; are protected or enhanced. The State Lands Division must write a management plan that is presented to the board for approval within one year of property purchase.