New camp part of Easton offer

Scouts to host town hall meetings to discuss Discovery Land proposal

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Before judging, hear the pitch.

The Inland Northwest Council of Boy Scouts of America is holding town meetings this week to explain Discovery Land Company's offer to purchase Camp Easton, and why the organization is considering accepting.

"We hope to fully inform folks of more details of the proposal being considered, answer questions and get their feedback," said Tim McCandless, scout executive for the Inland Northwest Council.

So far, McCandless said, many have expressed concern about the proposal from the developer of Gozzer Ranch to purchase the Boy Scouts camp on Gotham Bay.

He believes that's because folks don't know all the details.

"There are a lot of questions people have about it," McCandless said.

The meetings, which will be overseen by McCandless and members of the INC executive board, are intended to gauge general enthusiasm about the offer.

"It's basically to get a feel for how people are feeling. Their concerns," he said.

The meetings are not necessarily intended for the general public, he added, but for scouts, scout leaders and volunteers.

"We're not barring anyone from coming in, but the purpose of these presentations is to visit with the folks who use the camps," he said. "And that's our scouts and their leaders."

Thomas Little, a scout volunteer and past Camp Easton ranger, said he approves of the full disclosure about the potential sale.

"A lot of people don't know what's going on," he said.

But he would like to see all members of the public attend, he said.

"It's our public donations that go to Camp Easton and the Boy Scouts," said Little, who also lives near the camp. "I think the camp belongs to our community, to the future boys, to our grandkids."

The scheduled meetings include one at 7 a.m. today at the Silver Spoon in Kellogg and another at 6 tonight at the Sandpoint Community Hall, 204 First Ave., in Sandpoint.

A meeting in Coeur d'Alene is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Community United Methodist Church, 1470 W. Hanley Ave.

The INC has also released a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the proposed sale.

The document explains how Discovery Land Company would purchase a replacement property on Lake Coeur d'Alene - there is property already being considered - and would build a new Boy Scout camp there.

The new camp would be safer and more exciting, the document states, and could include new programs like climbing and a rappelling tower.

The Arizona-based company would also provide $2.5 million for the Boy Scout council's endowment foundation, to benefit camp maintenance and equipment.

The council executive board, whose names McCandless preferred not to disclose, has reviewed the proposal and conducted on-site evaluations of the proposed property.

A purchase and sale agreement has not been approved by the Boy Scouts.

"I think that it's a unique opportunity for the Boy Scout Council to even be able to consider a proposal such as this," McCandless said. "It's important to us to consider all aspects of it."

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