Folks ask about Tumtum; no sale yet
Real estate listing for 360-acre Clark County peak brings calls
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
News that Clark County landmark Tumtum Mountain is for sale has generated a slew of suggestions and inquiries, according to the real estate broker marketing the property.
But there have been no serious takers so far, said Terri Eklund, hired to sell the cone-shaped hill near the tiny community of Chelatchie Prairie. Tumtum is being sold as part of the estate of Billie McKee Sr., a Battle Ground logging company owner who died in February.
Since her unusual real estate listing was publicized in a Nov. 8 newspaper story, “I’ve gotten all kinds of calls,” Eklund said.
One college student said he would buy the mountain in three years if she hasn’t sold it by then.
“It has always been his dream to own Tumtum Mountain,” Eklund said.
The listing price of the 1,400-foot-tall mountain is $699,900, a 50 percent reduction from its original list price of $1.4 million.
A familiar site in the Cascade foothills of northern Clark County, Tumtum is a lava dome that formed the same way as its giant neighbor, Mount St. Helens. The difference, according to local experts, is that Tumtum is no longer active. St. Helens is.
Eklund has also toured the mostly tree-covered Tumtum with logging company representatives and other potential buyers who considered the site for commercial enterprises.
“But there’s been no written offers yet,” she said.
The 360-acre mountain is zoned for forestry, which means it could be managed for long-term
production of commercial forest products, said Jerry Bonagofsky, chief executive officer of the Washington Contract Loggers Association Inc. in Olympia.
Bonagofsky said Tumtum’s designation could generate interest among investors who buy timber land to hold and harvest at a later date.
“It may be years before the timber is ready for harvest, depending on its age,” Bonagofsky said. “It’s a matter of timing, like any investment, making sure you time the market and achieve a respectable rate of return.”
It is unclear when the timber on Tumtum was last harvested. McKee had owned the mountain since 1988, when he purchased it from Delaware-based Cavenham Forest Industries Inc. Before that, it was owned by Crown Zellerbach Corp., former owner of the paper mill in Camas.
Not everyone wants to see commercial activity on Tumtum Mountain, however.
Eklund has also heard from Seattle-area mountain climber and blogger Paul Klenke, who posted photos of his 2010 Tumtum Mountain hike to the website SummitPost.org.
“I would like to see the mountain turned into a park,” Klenke wrote in an email. “With a bit of work and clearing of ground, the summit platform, which is about 100 feet by 50 feet, could be made into a nice viewpoint.”
Meanwhile, not much has changed at the mountain, except for its fairly recent covering of crusty snow, said Teresa Newton, an information officer at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument administrative headquarters in Chelatchie Prairie.
Tumtum is a familiar site outside Newton’s office window each day.
“It rained on it, then froze over, so it’s not good for snowshoeing right now,” she said.