January 20, 2012 in Business

Survey shows support for selling Boy Scouts camp

By The Spokesman-Review

On the Web: For survey results, click on Camp Easton Survey Report at www.nwscouts.org/ proposal.

A majority of people answering a Boy Scouts survey on the future of Camp Easton say they think selling it to build a new camp is a good idea.

Earlier this month the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America sent out email questionnaires, with the key question being: Do you back negotiating with the Discovery Land Co. and selling Camp Easton in exchange for a new Scouts camp on another undeveloped site on Lake Coeur d’Alene?

Eight hundred people replied and 61 percent said yes, according to Tim McCandless, the group’s executive.

The question was among more than 15 sent to roughly 8,000 volunteers, Scout members, families of Scouts, supporters and others involved in Scouting. The 800 responses, about 10 percent, was a strong turnout, McCandless said.

McCandless and Scout board members said last year they’re considering selling 380-acre Camp Easton, used by regional and national Scout groups since 1929, to Discovery, sparking strong opposition. Discovery said it would build a new, modern camp on 279 acres near Sunup Bay, on the west side of the lake.

Opponents say Camp Easton, in addition to offering a rich tradition, is the better location for camping and Scout activities. McCandless and some board members say Camp Easton is in need of several million dollars in building repairs and upgrades. They contend the board needs to ensure the best Scouting experience for future generations.

Another question on the survey asked whether respondents felt the original deed for Camp Easton required it to be used as a camp forever, or whether it allowed for Scout leaders to find another site. About 59 percent said they thought building a modern camp was allowed.

McCandless said the summaries of the answers, and a long list of individual comments on Scout programs and how to improve them, are posted on the Inland Northwest Council website.

The survey results will be evaluated by the council board, and don’t mean the board will automatically approve a sale, McCandless said.

The next step for the board is deciding whether to authorize a group to negotiate a specific set of terms for the camp’s sale. After that, it can review the Discovery offer to decide if it is the best choice, he said.

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