After years of wrestling with Blaine County, Camp Rainbow Gold finalized purchase Monday of a permanent site in Camas County northwest of Fairfield.
The 172-acre swath of Soldier Mountain Ranch and Resort will eventually stage two camps for young cancer patients, two retreats for families coping with the disease and one for siblings, according to camp spokeswoman K.C. Covert. Camp Rainbow Gold also intends to make the facility available for other medical-needs organizations in Idaho, she said.
“We feel confident we have considered every detail, reviewed every inspection report and carefully taken the time to ensure the right fit,” Executive Director Elizabeth Lizberg said in a statement. “We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and excitement throughout this process. We’re thrilled for this opportunity to secure the future of Camp Rainbow Gold.”
Initially announced in November, the $1.3 million deal was purchased through a donation by the Nancy P. and Richard K. Robbins Family Foundation. The site includes 26 buildings—21 of which are cabins. But it’s not a turnkey solution; Camp Rainbow Gold will need to modify the site to accommodate its guests. With deed in hand, it plans to develop a master plan for the acreage, and launch a capital campaign to fund construction.
Until then, it will continue to operate on short-term leases at Cathedral Pines and Camp Perkins north of Ketchum.
Monday’s announcement comes more than a year after the camp gave up efforts to establish a 260-acre campus in Blaine County along the East Fork of the Big Wood River.
That site was immediately entangled in challenges from neighbors on East Fork Road, resulting in some 15 months of proceedings before the county Planning and Zoning Commission and the Blaine County commissioners to get a conditional-use permit for development. Ultimately, the board determined that the plan ran afoul of county code, and in a 2-1 vote denied the camp’s application to develop the site.
Camas County would not require a permit application to place a camp on the site, Lizberg told the Idaho Mountain Express in November.
“We truly don’t view this as ‘leaving’ the Wood River Valley,” Covert said. “Camp Rainbow Gold has too much history and too many important relationships to ever leave that community and it will always be a huge part of our programs and progress. This really was about securing a permanent home for our programs. Our focus is on the children.”