WhitesideDiggings


SOLD  7-10-2017

$89,000!!  Includes built in owner financing with $2,500 down payment.

Views across the Eastern Sierra, Alabama Hills, and Manzanar.  Inyo's too!


Feel free to compare our listing with any other in the Owens Valley, I doubt you'll find anything as private while surrounded by public lands and wildflowers...


And flowering cacti.


35 acres of private land, history, mines, and mineral rights all in the Mazourka Canyon foothills and just a few miles from Independence, CA.  Private land in the Owens Valley is unique as only 1.7% of all open land here is privately owned -- this parcel happens to be surrounded on all sides by BLM lands and about 1/2 mile away USFS lands begin.

Owner financing available with $2,500 down payment.  Buyers will assume a balance of $86,500 to be paid of in monthly installments of $464.35 (5% interest over 30 years)  Shorter terms available.

A good dirt road leads to the property but as you approach the land it becomes faint and rougher.  Any truck or utility vehicle should be fine, for a sedan you might want to scout out conditions first.  On the last approach to the 35 acres, the road is limited to jeeps and high clearance 4x4's -- it's a challenging road with some exposed bedrock, but a cake-walk compared to the Swansea Grade, Lippincott Mine Road, or South Park Canyon if you are familiar with those routes.  The property has a variety of hilltops (and ridges) with a canyon and mining operation wedged in between.  It's private and views from the canyon go south down the Owens Valley to Manzanar.  Views from the hilltops are 360 degrees.  Currently there is no developed water on the property, nearby sources include: springs within walking distance, flooded lower levels at the nearby Whitside Mine, Owens River, and Billy Lake.

For those that enjoy driving around on dirt roads this property features a unique advantage - the Inyo Adventure Trails program is finally gearing up as of this May, 2015.  What that means is that from this land you can legally drive an off road vehicle down Mazourka Canyon road into downtown Independence provided you follow the designated route, are an adult, have insurance, day light hours only, etc.  Just something to consider... 

A co-worker of mine grew up in Independence and he told me part of growing up was getting your own mining claim up in Mazourka Canyon.  Kids back then explored all the old mines in the area and he told me about going into the mine right next to ours, the Whiteside Mine.  Apparently, it goes back a good half mile and the shaft in the back is filled with water, easily scooped out with a bucket.  He tested the water back then and it was pure.  To my surprise Youtube has a video, here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdsnC0ZU-ZQ 

We hold this property with four deeds - a 4/6 interest, and two other 1/6 interests plus a separate gas, oil, and mineral deed.  It's a long story I won't get into right now but we've been compiling our ownership in this property for over 8 years.  The plan was to keep it for ourselves and build a cabin right over the top of one of the vertical shafts but we don't get there that often anymore.  Plans change and now we can use the income.

My favorite part of acquiring this land from the various relatives and trust of Robert Whiteside was the history behind this land, timber, and mining magnate.  If you're interested see this link: http://zenithcity.com/archive/people-biography/robert-whiteside/

Ahead is the property, hills to the left and hills to the right.  It's rectangular in shape with the canyon in the middle.  Towards the back you can see two large tailing piles.  The rocks are fun to poke through, we collected a few that were blue-ish purple and included them in a masonry wall we built last summer.  The approach is flat with your choice of roads.


Same photo, just zoomed in a little.


Coming in there are two roads that lead to the property, this one is to the looker's right in the previous picture.


Views looking back.  We are on a ledge with Mazourka Canyon road below.  Views spread to the south past Manzanar to the Alabama Hills.  Time permitting stop by Manzanar to see their museum free of charge - we purchased the four fruit trees in the welcome plaza check those out too, only a few more years till they produce.


Entering the property and the road continues up the canyon.  Here the road gets rougher, if you're uncertain hop out and walk.


Strange looking rocks, there's a lot of limestone in this canyon.


Ancient rock markers most likely showing the property boundary.  We didn't go up and look.


Prospecting break.


Checking out the biggest adit, our three-year old hucked a rock and it smacked my ankle bone squarely.  He got his first spank, we reminisce when traveling past on the 395.  (He's nearly 12 and laughs at my recounting the tale)


Hiking up to the higher ridges, trying to hustle in some extra photos before the sunlight fades.


The mining piles make a nice level spot for camping out.


Up on the ridge looking over the property towards the Inyo Range and the 'newer' Whiteside Mine.  It's hard to make out in this photo but on the far canyon slope, just above the shadow line, there is another faint trail that leads down to the wash.  Later we discovered it was a mining path and found a mining sled (on rails) that work animals would drag through the dirt carrying ore.  Ore sled, that was a first for us.


Vertical mine shaft, open like a funnel these things can be dangerous and swallow up unsuspecting pets and children.  However, build a cabin over it and you could include a trap door that actually goes somewhere.


Another angle, didn't test out the ladder.


Lots of tunneling, don't know if anything good was recovered.  This was a silver mine.  I suspect the tunnels connect.


Views over property and across the Owens Valley to the Sierra.  The sun is setting.  A long time ago I turned this below photo into a business card.


Lobo and I find a rock structure, probably a dynamite hold.


Southern sunset views towards the Owens dry Lake.


Coso Range in the far distance.


Plenty of tunnels on the other side of the canyon too, lots to explore.


Property for sale.


Occasional cactus.  Many seasonal wildflowers, especially after large winters.



Our property is shown in white, "Old Whiteside Diggings".  Had a chance long ago on the Green Monster Mine but only for half ownership.  The Green Monster was a gold mine.  The Whiteside mine shown next to our property has crystal clear water inside of it.


The map pretty much sums up your neighbors.  Green is US Forest Service, tan is BLM, and yellow is the city of Los Angeles.  Private properties are white.  I have a lot of interaction with the various land managers and sometimes they change ranking in their best practices, but, BLM is still the preferred neighbor compared to LA or USFS.  Your results may vary.



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As mentioned above, this property sits smack in the middle of the Owens Valley.  You may or may not be familiar with the small towns that dot the valley floor, each is unique and perfect for vacations, recreation, retirement, and accessing high sierra wilderness or desert solitude. 

One might wonder, well if this is such a great property why don't you keep it for yourself?  A very good question and the answer is this: we have many properties, cabins, shacks, trailers, mines, fruit trees everywhere and we are starting to find ourselves spread thin.   Most of our holdings are in constant need of maintenance and we are having a tough time keeping up with what we have.  (but making some good headway!!)   Our first thought was to keep this property indefinitely and add in a cabin (trailer) or two, some landscape art, do something with the underground tunnels, gate the entrance, but realistically we can't -- don't have the time.

Joint venture: we've done them twice and they work.  It is a good way to share in the cost of property if you are on a budget.  Because the property is held with three separate deeds it makes sense for three families (or three family members) to divvy it up.  Split three ways this property would cost each party a little under $6/day. 

Forty acres is the minimum lot size currently, this property is smaller being 35 acres, one couldn't subdivide it further.  One could though divide up the interests as it has already been done.

Zoning OS40 - open space with 40 acre minimum lot size.  OS40 allows almost everything from single family homes to cabins and ranches, please see the Inyo County link for details:
http://www.qcode.us/codes/inyocounty/  After clicking that link go to "Title 18 ZONING", then three chapters down to "Chapter 18.12 OS (OPEN SPACE) ZONE".  Yes, it's a lot of clicking but I can't link to it directly for whatever reason.


Besides being zoned for a ranch/home or cabin, other conditional uses may be:

    A.   Public stables, roping arenas, riding academies, parks, campgrounds, private recreational clubs, pack stations, lodges, resorts, and other recreational activities involving development or large assemblages of people;

    B.   Feed lot, dairies or commercial ranches for the raising of poultry, pigs, goats or rabbits when any of the foregoing are located on property adjacent to residential zoned property;

    C.   Public and quasi-public buildings and uses of recreational, religious, cultural or public service nature, excluding exterior storage, repair yards and warehouses;

    D.   Golf course;

    E.    Farm labor or camp;

    F.    Cemeteries, crematories, mausoleums and columbariums; (never heard of that!)

    G.   Airports, landing fields and airstrips;

    H.   Public and commercial refuse disposal sites;

    I.     Mining and processing of natural resources, including borrow pits, subject to the provisions of the California Surface Mining Act;

    J.    Kennel and animal hospital (when parcel is adjacent to residential zoned property);

    K.   Agriculturally oriented services, including those uses of land devoted to the provision of buying, selling, processing, storing, packaging and otherwise directly serving functions associated with the production of local agricultural products, and including the operation, storage and maintenance of equipment and implements, and motor vehicles and trailers primarily used to transport local agricultural products and livestock. Manufacturing other than the primary cleaning, sorting, packaging or conversion of local agricultural products is prohibited;

    L.    Second dwelling units, subject to the requirements and procedures set forth or referred to in Section 18.78.340;

    M.   Informational kiosks and off-site directional signs complying with the provisions of Chapter 18.75 and subject to the provisions of Section 18.12.050. (Ord. 1007 § 6, 1998; Ord. 997 § 7, 1998; Ord. 943 § 4, 1994.)



I'd guess the elevation to be right around 4,000 feet.  The Owens Valley experiences all four seasons, once in a while these hills will get snow -- I know from experience and have another property lower on the valley floor near Lone Pine.  Summers have the potential to get piping hot, this property and canyon face south and are drenched in sun.  Low elevations make for year round access.  Property is protected too, not at the bottom of one of the legendary Inyo Mountain gully washes.  It's a concern around here, desert mountains can produce incredible floods given the right circumstances.

Lastly, a few thoughts on land ownership.  Obviously it isn't for everyone, some people think it is a joke and that's fine.  Everything we've ever made has been invested in land as we trust it way more than stocks off Wall Street or 401K's.  At the end of the day you can drive out to your land, camp-out, hike, shoot, or build something out of the way of prying eyes and neighbors.  You can welcome people to use your land or tell them no trespassing.  You can rent it, sell it, mine it, or hold it.  Build if you want, or just take your time designing the plans.

APN 022-190-01 

Please don't hesitate to email or call with any questions.  Best time is before you buy!  Inquiries for this property have been moderate, my hope is that it will sell this summer or fall.  If you are interested in this property let me know, I've been known to work very well with serious buyers.  I can also deliver signed real estate documents within a week of a down payment clearing.  -John. 76zero-709-0293

Below is another map zoomed out slightly, you may notice a dearth of private land (white and grey).  I'm pretty sure the big white one shown on Oak Creek was bought up by LADWP.

(Temporarily missing)

Spring break visit 2016 - showing the property.  To the right is another well constructed vertical mine shaft that drops about 15'.


Closer inspection.


Property views.  Average snow pack in 2016 for the Sierra - at least in the LADWP watershed.


Spring break 2017, welcome back purple wildflowers.


And desert paintbrush.


Plat map showing the two joined patented land claims, the Union #1 and Denis Junior.  35.115 acres to be exact.  Patented lands are private property, these come with mineral rights.

I heard that Inyo Mono Title does not guarantee mineral rights any more with transfers.  With this property I learned how to do a mineral rights deed properly and have never seen one since.  By the way, if mineral rights are not specifically severed then it is assumed they remain with the property.  


We are the second owners.  First page of the original patent granting Robert Whiteside the property, signed by President Hoover.  Full patent available upon request.  Many of the survey corner markers are still out there.




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