The Lot in the Desert – 300 Words 8/9/18

My grandfather purchased 40 acres of land in the Johnson Valley CA, located in the desert due north of Big Bear, sometime in the mid-60’s. I would have been around 12 years old and I can remember my dad expressing the opinion at that time that it was a crazy thing to do.

But back then there was a lot of land speculation going on out there.  It was thought that Edwards AFB and other government operations in the area were going to grow.

The parcel is part of my parent’s estate now, and my brother, who is the trustee of the estate has asked me to look into the value of the property. So, armed with just a parcel number on a county assessor tax bill, I went searching for the location of this piece of land.

If you look at Google Maps for Lucerne Valley, the closest town to Johnson Valley, you will see a lot of open desert, sparsely populated with homes, struggling orchards, and gravel pits. Look closer, and you can see open desert with a lot of creosote plants. Look even closer, you can see ancient rings of creosote.

Turns out that you can visit the rings at the Lucerne Valley Creosote Ring Preserve. I borrowed this picture of a ring from their website. I’m pretty sure that our property looks just like this.

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Armed with the parcel number, and aid from a nice person at the assessor’s office, I found our parcel. Here are several screenshots showing where it is.

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Large scale map showing the parcel as small orange box above Hwy 247, and to right of center
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Close-up of map showing the parcel.

There does seem to be some well water, or there there wouldn’t be anybody out there. The owners of the land next to ours appear to be trying to grow some sort of orchard. fullsizeoutput_829

So far we have a low-ball offer for about $12k, and a 2017 comp for $24k.

I also sent the a note to the Mojave Desert Land Trust to see if they might be interested in receiving the land as a donation.  From their website, “MDLT has conserved more than 70,000 acres of prime desert habitat, forever weaving together National Parks, wilderness areas, and wildlife linkage corridors. The organization works closely with a broad range of desert community members and visitors, as well as with local, state, and federal agencies. MDLT offers hands-on learning and volunteer opportunities to residents and visitors of the desert. It collaborates closely with, and is supported by, a diverse range of partner organizations, agencies, neighbors, and visitors who treasure the desert’s unique qualities.”

Gretchen and I are planning to make a day trip out there to see it sometime. We’ll take plenty of water!

Have a great day.

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