Discovery Land Company was first to concede that continued negotiations on the Camp Easton land swap were fruitless, Boy Scout officials said Thursday.
But the Inland Northwest Council Boy Scouts of America agreed with the luxury developer this week that details of the proposal were too complicated to pan out.
"We ended the discussion on mutual terms," said Tim McCandless, INC scout executive and CEO. "We knew it was a long shot to pull all this together at the outset, and we didn't know what the outcome would be when the discussions began."
INC boards gave the green light last spring to investigate if a purchase and sale agreement was possible, to finalize that Discovery would take over the Camp Easton property after it built a new scout camp at Sunup Bay.
Research revealed an expensive knot of problems to untangle to accomplish all that was desired, McCandless said. The property at Sunup included multiple private properties, projected construction costs kept rising, and the INC faced myriad issues to install infrastructure like a shooting range, he said.
"Once we got into the details, we both realized the complexity of the deal," McCandless said. "The reality was it's perhaps too difficult to pull it all together."
Both sides decided to continue investing in their current properties, he added, Discovery into Gozzer Ranch and the INC into Camp Easton.
Andy Holloran with Discovery could not be reached on Thursday.
Focusing now on a capital campaign to reinvest in the 82-year-old camp, McCandless said he doesn't expect to see another pitch to sell or trade Camp Easton.
"We want to pursue making Camp Easton as good as we can make it," he said, adding that the next step is to reprioritize the camp's needs and the cost to address them. "That's where our focus and efforts are going to be."
Asked if the INC would sign any kind of document ensuring the camp would always remain a camp, McCandless said he doesn't think it's necessary.
He couldn't estimate how much INC invested in the land swap proposal, including putting out literature, a video and survey.
The INC's defense against the lawsuit over the camp, filed by nonprofit Camp Easton Forever, Inc., is covered by an insurance liability program, he added.
Camp Easton Forever, Inc. will likely proceed with its litigation against INC, said nonprofit board chair Earl Lunceford.
The nonprofit is seeking a court ruling confirming that the initial donation of the camp property conditioned that it remain a boys' camp forever.
After a district judge ruled against the nonprofit, the group has appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court.
"I'm all for moving ahead positively. I think this has ripped the community apart," said Lunceford, an Eagle Scout who has contributed financially to Camp Easton.
But of INC, he said, "they've given me a reason to not really trust them."
Lunceford would love to see improvements like a tunnel under the highway, he said, and better infrastructure at the camp that five generations of his family have enjoyed.
But he wants documented certainty that dollars won't go into the site, just to have it traded or sold down the road, he said.
"Why ask the state (for money) to put in a safety tunnel, just for Discovery or Gozzer to run golf carts under?" Lunceford said.