An Expert Opinion by Tom Gilbertson

Tom Gilbertson came to Magic Valley in April of 1978 as a staff real estate appraiser for First Federal Savings and Loan of Twin Falls, later re-chartered as First Federal Savings Bank of Twin Falls. First Federal Savings Bank has been a very successful real estate lender in the Magic Valley markets for many years.


They have extensive experience in all forms of real estate lending from residential, commercial, industrial, development, and other forms of real estate.


Tom Gilbertson as a Vice President of the Bank and his 36 years of experience was responsible for completing appraisals, property evaluations, and reviewing appraisals and appraisal policies for the bank.

Tom’s knowledge of the Magic Valley real estate markets is extensive as he has reviewed appraisals and completed property evaluation reports in all parts of Idaho, but primarily in the counties of Gooding, Camas, Blaine, Lincoln, Jerome, Twin Falls, Cassia and Minidoka which make up the area known as Magic Valley.


In the last four decades of valuing real estate and the study of markets in South Central Idaho, I believe that for the first time I have been asked to value a property that may be truly priceless. The geology of Devil’s Corral is evidence of the Bonneville Flood that formed much of the magnificent Snake River topography 14,500 years ago. An appraiser would be challenged to value incomparable land such as this. The land’s uniqueness is itself impossible to duplicate. An appraiser can only detail individual characteristics to arrive at a value for a one of a kind priceless treasure.


My involvement here is to express my professional opinion in evaluating this property as a banker and real estate expert for the purpose of giving an investor/ purchaser an honest and professional platform to establish value. The total area of the unique parcel, historically called “Devil’s Corral” in Twin Falls local lore is two hundred acres.


Currently in its natural, virgin state, it is accessed through the Bureau of Land Management’s adjoining 6,500+ acre park. The Devil’s Corral has potential for development on 80 of the 200 acres. Residential home sites, commercial resort, equestrian use and other activities can be considered.

The balance of the property, 120 acres, consists of a lake, beautiful cliffs, streams and breathtaking views adding to the overall effect of the natural, spectacular beauty surrounding the initial developable acreage. This value of this acreage after road costs, power, water, sewage are subtracted would add substantially to the overall project.


On the south side of the Snake River/Twin Falls side of the property, are a number of residential developments. Private homes on that side of the rim are priced in the $500,000 to just over $1,000,000 range. In 1981, a professional, accredited appraisal valued Devil’s Corral at $3,200,000. Due to the construction in the intervening years, the proximity of growth in Twin Falls’ commercial projects and the rise in prices overall, it is my opinion that a current value of $10,000,000 is conservative.


A value of $50,000 per acre for comparable prime land in this market has already been achieved long ego


The seclusion and guaranteed privacy, the unmatched canyon views, natural life and the scarcity of such sites would probably support a doubling of the price. In conclusion, the true value of Devil’s Corral may exceed this opinion of value but the above number is $10,000,000. And is also supported by the 1981 appraisal if brought to today’s dollars.