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MONDAY, OCT. 3, 2011, 4:35 P.M.

Opponents of Camp Easton swap file lawsuit to block sale to developer

A group of Inland Northwest backers and supporters of the Boy Scout's popular Camp Easton have filed a lawsuit trying to halt the sale of the camp to an Arizona developer.

The suit, filed recently in Kootenai County District Court by the group Camp Easton Forever, seeks a permanent injunction that would prevent any future sale of Camp Easton. They assert that the original donation of the land restricted its use forever as a Scout camp.

Camp Easton Forever is a nonprofit group created last month in response to announced plans by the Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts of America to explore selling Camp Easton to Discover Land Co., which has also developed a residential area and golf course along Lake Coeur d'Alene.

The camp sale is not a done deal. The Inland Northwest Council has said its board will decide at some point if the option of building a new and safer Scout camp justifies selling Camp Easton.

No date has been set for that review and a board vote on the sale, said Tim McCandless, the CEO of the Inland Northwest Council. 

Discover has proposed buying 380 acres on which Camp Easton sits, then building another newer camp on 270 acres along Sunup Bay on the other side of the lake. Opponents say the new land doesn't offer the beach that Camp Easton has, and they claim the appeal of Camp Easton is its age and tradition.

McCandless and board members say they are obliged to review the offer and consider whether the new site, along with a capital improvement fund provided by Discover, are in the best interests of future Boy Scouts.

A copy of the lawsuit filed in Kootenai County District Court is here.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.