Wealthy residents say ‘get out of town’ to Idaho summer camp for kids with cancer
Residents of an Idaho resort town came out in opposition of a plan to set up a summer camp for children with cancer.
Camp Rainbow Gold has previously invited childhood cancer patients to its privately owned campground in the Sawtooth Mountains, but organizers announced last month they were trying to buy property in the unincorporated town of Triumph to serve as a permanent location and allow more kids to take part, reported the Idaho Mountain Express.
But residents of the nearby resort town of Ketchum packed a community meeting last week to voice their opposition to the plan — which they worried would draw too much vehicle traffic.
“You guys are throwing Triumph under the bus,” said resident Bill Collins, who has asked for and received two speed bumps in front of his home to slow drivers on the 25 mph stretch of road.
Elizabeth Lizberg, the camp’s executive director, said landowners Rich and Nancy Robins had donated part of their property worth $1.76 million to the camp, which allows children and their families to get away from the stress of fighting cancer.
The location, just east of Triumph in rural Blaine County, has natural ponds and is just 10 miles away from a hospital.
But neighbors complained the camp would burden the area’s water and sewage infrastructure and put too many vehicles on the road.
“It’s the biggest issue!” one resident shouted during the the discussion.
Neighbors also expressed concerns about the effects of wildfire smoke on the children.
A local traffic expert told residents the camp would have a minimal impact on traffic in the area, but the newspapers reported that neighbors grumbled, “You’ve got to be kidding me,” and, “Get out of town.”
They also shouted down the traffic expert when she reported her own measurements of drive times in the area.
The camp would include 14 cabins and 11 other buildings, and an architect told residents the clustered layout would preserve neighbors’ views.
But neighbors grunted and complained when camp officials said construction could take about 22 months to complete.
The Blaine County Planning and Zoning Commission must now consider Camp Rainbow Gold’s application for a conditional-use permit for the location, but the camp’s board of directors will meet this week to discuss whether they’ll move forward with their relocation plan.
“To hear that people want us to leave, that’s hard to hear,” said Lizberg, the camp’s executive director. “After years of generous support in the Wood River Valley, we are disappointed at how this project is being perceived. Comments were made that are hurtful to the children and families we serve and the mission we fulfill.”
Camp Rainbow Gold was founded in 1985 by a Twin Falls surgeon who was inspired by an 8-year-old cancer patient who wanted to be “normal” and go to summer camp.